Thursday night at Cannes Film Festival was just another round of lavish beach-side parties thrown by Bulgari and Calvin Klein where luminaries like Harvey Weinstein, Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, and Rooney Mara talked about important things. None of them could imagine that one of the biggest heists in Cannes' history was going down at the same time as they were fussing about their hair frizzing up in the rain.
Jewels from the Swiss luxury jeweler Chopard were stolen when a safe was ripped clean from the wall of Hotel Novotel, blocks from the Cannes red carpet. The jewels were to be loaned out to celebrities to wear on the red carpet during the two-week festival. Chopard is a sponsor of the festival and also designs the coveted the Palme d'Or prize given to the best film. The Palme d'Or was spared.
The daring heist added a layer of intrigue to the festivities as police are investigating the details of the robbery. The hotel room belonged to a Chopard employee and police in Nice believe it was carried out by one thief at 5 a.m., according to French media reports. Police also told The Hollywood Reporter that they suspect it may be an "inside job" and are questioning hotel employees.
The French Riviera and the Croisette are no strangers to robberies. Just last year, two Senegalese soccer players reported watches and cash totalling more than $4.3 million were stolen from them at Cannes. In 2009, armed robbers wearing Hawaiian shirts stole $19 million in jewelry from a Cartier store on the Croisette in Cannes.
Indiewire advised patrons of the festival to "beware of pickpockets. We know of regulars who, after leaving a window open, have had all of their belongings stolen from their rented hotels and flats while they were away."
Jewelers generally provide extensive security measures during events like this, and Chopard even had a 40-person team that monitors the jewels on the celebrities during the red carpet. This may have prompted some cynics to question whether Chopard staged the entire thing as a promotional stunt, which Chopard denies.
In classic Hollywood fashion, there's also an ironic twist. The heist occurred the same night that Sofia Coppola's THE BLING RING, a tabloid-y tale about teenagers robbing celebrities, premiered at Cannes. Emma Watson has been professing her innocence of the robberies. The heist is also recalling many a reference to the suave cat-burglar Cary Grant played in Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief, which also depicted the Riviera's irreverence being disturbed.
The investigation is ongoing, but let's just indulge in our Cary Grant fantasies for now: