A lone jewel thief who struck the lavish Carlton International Hotel in the French Riviera resort of Cannes made off with $136 million in diamond-encrusted watches and gems, making it one of the biggest jewel heists in history, French authorities reported Monday.
Initial estimates of the stolen jewels after the brazen midday theft on Sunday put their value at $53 million. A subsequent inventory disclosed that more had been taken from a poorly guarded hotel room, where items were being stored for an exhibit by Dubai-based Leviev diamond house, Philippe Vique of the regional prosecutor's office told local media.
Nice Matin, a leading newspaper in the region, speculated that the heist might be the most costly in history, eclipsing a $119 million take from a 2008 robbery at a similar jewel exhibit in Paris.
A gunman wearing a ball cap and a scarf across his face broke into the landmark hotel and made off with bags of diamond jewelry, news agencies reported.