This past Sunday a lone thief stole $136 million in jewels, without firing a shot, from the iconic Intercontinental Carlton Hotel in Cannes, France. The French Riviera hotel was hosting a jewelry exhibit over the summer, and the Associated Press writes: “The diamond show was staged on the ground floor of a hotel that thieves had targeted before — and which had been featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s high-karat classic ‘To Catch a Thief.’ The guards were few and unarmed, and nobody thought to tell the police about the tens of millions worth of gems on display for more than a month. As more details emerged Tuesday, questions grew about how the collection was so vulnerable, and how a single thief with a handgun could make off with one of the biggest hauls in history — a total of $136 million in jewels — without firing a shot. It was the second time in a week that unarmed guards were overwhelmed by jewel thieves. At a Swiss prison near the French border, a member of the notorious ‘Pink Panther’ gang escaped after accomplices rammed a gate and overpowered unarmed guards with bursts from Kalashnikovs. Police haven’t yet drawn any links between the two cases.”
In what can only be described as the most perfectly serendipitous timing imaginable, a brand new documentary from director Havana Marking, entitled Smash And Grab, explores the masterfully stealth Pink Panther gang. The international jewel thief network was nicknamed Pink Panthers by Interpol, and was named after the The Pink Panther series of crime comedy films. They are responsible for what have been termed some of the most glamorous heists ever, with one criminologist even describing their crimes as “artistry”. They have targeted several countries and continents, and include Japan’s most successful robbery ever amongst their thefts. Some law enforcement agencies suspect that the group is responsible for over $500 million in bold robberies in Dubai, Switzerland, Japan, France, Liechenstein, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Monaco. Law enforcement suspect their involvement in the robbery of the jewellery store Harry Winston in Paris on December 9, 2008. The thieves escaped with more than $106 million worth of jewellery.
Documentary director Havana Marking talked to CBS This Morning earlier today about her new film, Smash And Grab, and gives us a glimpse inside the world of the Pink Panthers and their sophisticated network. Turns out, their success is not only due to their ability to steal these jewels — it’s also due to their ability to sell them. Smash And Grab opens in limited release across North America on July 31st.
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