The terrifying raid of Kim Kardashian’s luxury Paris apartment, where she was reportedly sequestrated, held at gunpoint and robbed by five men dressed as police officers in the early hours of Sunday, has shocked her fans worldwide — and raised serious questions about security and basic competence during one of the most glittering, star-studded weeks for the City of Lights.
Millions of dollars worth of jewelry, several mobile phones and a ring worth 4 million euros were stolen from the world’s highest paid reality television star, according to authorities.
A Paris Police official told Heat Street that the investigation had just begun and at this point, no “options can be excluded and all avenues will be seriously explored.”
However, rumors are already swirling attributing the heist to the infamous “Pink Panther” gang — a group of roughly 150 to 200 men and women hailing from Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia who’ve hit over 100 targets in Paris, Cannes, Tokyo, London and Geneva since they formed in 1993.
Some government agencies credit the gang for stealing more than $500,000 worth of jewelry of late, in smash-and-grab style robberies.
The “Pink Panthers” got their name following a high profile robbery in London in 2003. During the investigation, a Scotland Yard officer found a diamond ring hidden in a pot of face cream – a ploy similar to one found in Edwards Blake’s eponymous comedy starring starring Peter Sellers. Thus the Pink Panthers were born.
Their modus operandi is worthy of Ocean’s Eleven. The gang is generally very swift — entering stores disguised as women, wearing wigs or glasses, and leaving as soon as they’ve gotten their fill, using minimal violence.
The mayor of Paris, Anna Hidalgo, condemned the attack and tried to dampen the media frenzy by saying: “This very rare incident, which took place in a private space, does not in any way call into question the work of the police officers and security officers of Paris’s public places.”
But many who have been following the news recently would beg to differ. In recent years, France has seen some of the biggest jewel heists in history— most notably in Cannes where a sole man wearing a ball cap managed to snatch almost $136 million worth of diamonds, without gunfire or injury.
Armed robberies are also frequent on Paris’ luxurious Place Vendome — home to the most expensive jewelry stores of the capital — and supposedly one of the most heavily secured and controlled areas of Paris.
Only months after the worst terrorists attacks in French history, one would think that the luxury capital of the world — upon which A-list celebrities, models and movie stars regularly descend for all the world to see — would be on high alert during Fashion Week and strengthen security around the city’s wealthiest precincts.
But during both the March and December brazen daylight heists of Swiss-based luxury jewelry chain Chopard on the Place Vendome, security was so insufficient, that robbers encountered no resistance, leaving the scene on foot with their haul.
It clearly wasn’t difficult for robbers to break into Kardashian’s residence either.
In a separate incident just a few days before her attack, Kardashian West was kissed on her famous bottom by a man while getting out of her car (the perpetrator was the famous prankster Vitalii Sediuk, who made a splash for “manhandling” model Gigi Hadid in Milan a couple of days earlier) prompting her bodyguard to intervene.
She praised his bravado on Twitter and even joked, on the day of her hotel raid, that he (Pascal Duvier) was always photobombing her paparazzi shots.
This guy is always in my shot! pic.twitter.com/7LC6ewaYPO
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) October 2, 2016
But Duvier was notably absent the night of the raid. In fact, according to police officials, the only security present at the hotel that night was the concierge, who was quickly subjugated by the gunmen and locked under the building’s staircase.
The luxury apartment block where Kardashian West was staying is known as “No Address”. Its reputation was built by word of mouth and is a favorite of the rich and famous. Previous guests include Marina Ibrahimovic, Marion Cotillard and Guillaume Canet.
— Daily Mail Celebrity (@DailyMailCeleb) October 3, 2016
Heat Street tried to contact the No Address hotel for comment, but did not receive an answer.
After Kim’s ordeal, the Kardashian clan was relocated to the equally luxurious Hotel George V. She has since reportedly fled France entirely.