Cannes Jewel Heist: Was Thursday’s Pink Panther Prison Escape Linked To $53 Million Robbery?

A jewelry exhibition at the prestigious Carlton Hotel in the French Riviera resort of Cannes was held up this morning; a massive $53 million worth of diamonds was stolen in the Jewel Heist.

In the robbery, an armed man stole a large amount of diamonds being held in the lobby of the Carlton in an exhibition run by Jeweller and businessman Lev Leviev. The man made off with the stolen goods in a briefcase in what appears to have been a very professional and well planned operation.

The Cannes jewel heist today is the third this year to hit this French holiday resort. Cannes, which is famous for its annual film festival, as well as being renowned as a playground for the rich and famous, is no stranger to large scale, well planned jewelry thefts.

A spokesman for the police in Cannes said: “A full and urgent operation is under way to catch the culprit and recover these jewels. Thieves see Cannes as rich pickings.”

And this is not the first time the Carlton Hotel in Cannes has been hit by thieves. Back in the summer of 1994, gunman held up a jewelry store inside the hotel, stealing various jewels worth more than $77 million.

The police are searching for the lone thief, who was masked at the time of the robbery. It isn’t clear at this time whether he was armed or not.

Interestingly though, Milan Poparic, the infamous Bosnian Jewel heister, connected with the aptly named “Pink Panther” Jewel thief gang, escaped from a Swiss jail on Thursday evening. That jailbreak allegedly had all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster with a movie style escape from the prison, which included ramming the gate with a van.

The robbery had all the hallmarks of a very well planned and perfectly executed operation. Is it possible that Poparic and his cohorts could have planned today’s Cannes jewel heist and, indeed, carried it out? Is it just pure coincidence that the heist happened just days after the “Pink Panther” gang member escaped?