Kim Kardashian robbery: Paris police hunt armed attackers

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionKim Kardashian West's publicist said the star was "badly shaken but physically unharmed"

Kim Kardashian West has arrived back in New York as the hunt continues for armed robbers dressed as police officers who targeted the American reality TV star in a Paris apartment.

The gang held a gun to Kardashian West's head during the early morning robbery, before tying her up and locking her in the bathroom.

They then escaped with an estimated €10m (£8.7m; $11.2m) in jewellery.

Her publicist said the star was "badly shaken but physically unharmed".

The mother-of-two, who became a household name thanks to the reality series Keeping Up With The Kardashians, left France hours later, flying to New York in a private jet.

She was pictured with her mother Kris Jenner - who had been at the Givenchy show with Kardashian West on Sunday in Paris - and husband, the rapper Kanye West, outside their home in the city hours later.

image copyrightAFP
image captionKardashian West's mother Kris Jenner (centre, leaving the Wests' New York home on Monday) was not at the apartment when the robbers broke in

Paris police are continuing to search for the gang of five, two of whom forced their way into Kardashian West's luxury apartment at about 02:30 on Monday.

"What happened is very unfortunate and those responsible must be severely punished," French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told TV5 Monde. "We are fully mobilised to ensure the safety of the French people, as well as all those who visit France, and in particular tourists."

A police source told the BBC the attack was carried out by five men, wearing police-style jackets, who forced the building's overnight security guard to show them where Kardashian West was staying.

According to Reuters, the attackers first handcuffed the concierge.

Once inside, one of the men put a gun to Kardashian West's head while they robbed her of jewellery, including a ring worth €4m. They then tied her up and locked her in a bathroom while they escaped.

According to the police officer, the men fled the scene on bicycles.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionKim Kardashian West, centre, had been in the French capital for Paris Fashion Week with her mother Kris, right, and sister Kourtney, left

They also stole a box of jewellery worth as much as €6m (£5.2m/$6.7m), AP reported, citing police officials.

The robbery made headlines around the globe, and caused a storm on social media - with some celebrities, like Karl Lagerfeld, sharing messages of support with Kardashian West.

But there were also uglier posts about the television star.

TV host James Corden criticised those making light of the incident. He tweeted: "People making jokes about Kim Kardashian tonight would do well to remember that she's a mother, a daughter, a wife, a friend. Be nice or shut up."

Speaking in the afternoon, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said she was confident police would quickly identify and arrest the suspects and that the "very rare" incident "in no way calls into question police work or security of public spaces" in Paris.

She added that Kardashian West would "always be welcome in Paris".

However, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, a right-wing member of Paris council and a potential candidate in next year's presidential election, said the robbery was proof that "there is a general emergency on security" in the French capital.

"Regardless of all the very expensive advertising we do to promote `I Love Paris', tourism and the image of Paris, all these ads have been brutally cancelled by the Kim Kardashian case," Ms Kosciusko-Morizet told Europe 1 radio.

Kardashian West's husband, the rapper Kanye West, was on stage at the Meadows Music and Arts Festival in New York at the time of the robbery. He abruptly ended his set, telling fans: "I'm sorry, family emergency. I have to stop the show."

Kardashian West stayed at the luxury residence, in a discreet building behind the city's Madeleine church, with several secret entrances, at least once before, in 2014 before her marriage to West.

A stay can cost as much as €15,000 a night.

media captionKanye West halts a concert after hearing that his wife Kim Kardashian has been robbed at gunpoint

It is unclear if the couple's two children, three-year-old daughter North and 10-month-old son Saint, were at the home at the time. Police were guarding the site on Monday.

The star was in Paris for the city's fashion week with her mother Kris Jenner and her sister Kendall Jenner.

Last week she was approached by a prankster who tried to kiss her bottom but was stopped by a bodyguard.

Kardashian West first rose to fame as a friend and stylist to Paris Hilton.

'Like a plot twist' - media reaction in France and the US

While the French media look to politicians for answers on how such a robbery could happen in Paris, already damaged by recent terror attacks, the American newspapers have turned the spotlight on Kardashian West herself.

"We are in a state of emergency and five people dressed as policemen manage to break into a luxury hotel that houses a celebrity! It's pretty ridiculous," tourism expert Didier Arino told Le Figaro.

Meanwhile, Paris Match spoke to Jeanne d'Hauteserre, the area's mayor, who was outraged by the robbery: "I am going to demand a meeting with the head of the police. I don't want the 8th arrondissement to appear in the 'news' column each day."

But across the Atlantic the New York Daily News took its lead from social media posts which questioned whether or not the entire robbery was "too good to be true". "Something's not right. This doesn't feel like a heist. It feels like a plot twist for a season premiere," wrote Gersh Kuntzman.

The New York Post turned to the reality television star's former bodyguard for insight.

Steve Stanulis, who worked for the power couple during New York Fashion Week, was not sympathetic, blaming Kardashian West for making herself a target. He told the newspaper: "Kim's social media and her Snapchat is her undoing. When she is posting, 'Here I am, and this is the $5 million ring I am wearing, here's where I am going,' you are basically inviting someone to rob you."

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