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17 Arrested in Kim Kardashian West Robbery Inquiry in France


Kim Kardashian West last year. In October, men burst into the Paris apartment where she was staying, tied her up and robbed her of jewelry worth at least $ 9 million. Credit Landon Nordeman for The New York Times

PARIS — Seventeen people were arrested on Monday in France on suspicion of involvement in the robbery of the reality television star Kim Kardashian West during Paris Fashion Week in October, French officials said.

Agnès Thibault-Lecuivre, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor’s office, said the arrests were made Monday morning in Paris and the surrounding region, and in southern France, notably in Grasse, a center of perfume production near Nice.

Ms. Thibault-Lecuivre did not identify the people who had been detained and could not confirm if the people who carried out the robbery were among them. She said the oldest of those arrested was 72 and that several of the others were in their 40s, 50s and 60s, which suggested that they were part of an “experienced” group.

In the early hours of Oct. 3, five men wearing balaclavas burst into a V.I.P. residence where Ms. Kardashian West was staying, tied her up and robbed her at gunpoint of jewelry worth at least $ 9 million. The assailants, who also took cellphones and a wallet, fled on foot and on bicycles.

Ms. Thibault-Lecuivre said that investigators had identified some of the assailants using DNA found at the crime scene and security camera footage.

Luc Poignant, a spokesman for a police union, said that officers had used that information to set up a surveillance operation that had uncovered a wider criminal network.

In these kinds of networks, Mr. Poignant said, “You have the robbers, and then the one who is going to sell off the goods, the one who puts people in touch, the stone cutter, etc.”

“It didn’t take a lot of time,” he said of the investigation. “It took three months, and three months in this kind of investigation is quite short.”

Under French law, the suspects arrested on Monday can be held for questioning for up to four days, before being released or charged.

The robbery drew international attention and cast an uncomfortable light on the string of heists targeting wealthy tourists and famous visitors in and around the French capital over the past few years. In November, robbers made away with valuables worth an estimated $ 5.3 million after they targeted two Qatari sisters on the highway into the capital from Paris-Le Bourget Airport, which is used for many private flights.

Ms. Kardashian West, who has millions of followers on Twitter and Instagram, recently returned to social media after reducing her presence online following the robbery.

In a recent promotional clip for a coming season of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” the program on the E! cable network in which she stars, Ms. Kardashian West tearfully recalled the crime.

“They’re going to shoot me in the back,” she remembered thinking. “There’s no way out of it.”

Jean Veil, Ms. Kardashian West’s lawyer in France, told the French newsmagazine L’Express on Monday that the arrests might help recover the jewels, and that they would also cut short “shameful speculation” that the robbery was a publicity stunt.

Source: NYT > World

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