France jewels thefts: Robbers ram 4x4 into Paris shop

Christian Fraser reports from Paris on the "slick, quick" theft

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French police are investigating a daring jewellery robbery in Paris - the latest in a series of high-profile thefts in France this summer.

In the early hours of Monday, thieves rammed a 4x4 vehicle through the windows of an upmarket jewellery store near the prestigious Place Vendome.

They made off with 2m euros (£1.7m; $2.6m) in gems and watches.

In July, a masked jewel thief stole £88m worth of precious stones from the Carlton Hotel in Cannes.

After Monday's robbery, the thieves set fire to the 4x4 vehicle in an adjacent side street and made off in a second car.

Many of the most famous names in jewellery have their flagship stores in the Place Vendome, and this is a further embarrassment to the French authorities who have seen a spate of robberies in recent weeks, says the BBC's Christian Fraser in Paris.

Inevitably, the finger will again be pointed at the Pink Panther gang, a loosely aligned network of criminals who are believed to have carried out 300 similar robberies across the world since 1999, our correspondent says.

The international police agency Interpol has recently begun co-ordinating its efforts to track down the gangs' members, many of them from the former Yugoslavia.

In 2007, the gang drove two cars through the window of a jewellery store in Dubai, and in less than a minute had escaped with 11m euros of jewellery.

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