Cannes is to receive extra police reinforcements effective immediately after the French Riviera resort suffered its second high-profile holdup in four days, a regional government official said Wednesday.
Adolphe Colrat, prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes department, also called a meeting on Aug. 8 to discuss the creation of a Comité Croisette that would group together leading retailers and hoteliers, along the lines of the Comité Vendôme created in Paris in 1936.
The move comes after two armed robbers made off with a stash of luxury watches from the Kronometry store, located on the Boulevard de la Croisette opposite the Palais des Festivals, in broad daylight on Wednesday morning.
The duo escaped with close to 50 timepieces, whose total value has yet to be determined, said a police official in neighboring Nice. The judicial police in Nice have opened an investigation into the crime.
Colrat said the purpose of the Comité Croisette was to gather all the luxury players exposed to risk and to give them a joint platform to communicate with government officials, in particular the national police.
He said Cannes suffered from a “structural security problem” that could not be solved by police alone.
The Comité Croisette would organize, with the advice and support of security forces, security audits for luxury stores and safety training for sales personnel, he said. It would also provide retailers with a forum for exchanging best practices, and act as a platform providing national police with advance notice of high-profile events so that they can take part in security and prevention, Colrat added.
Cannes is gaining a reputation for poor security after a rash of robberies, including the theft on Sunday of diamond jewelry worth an estimated $136 million destined for a temporary exhibit by jeweler Leviev at the Carlton hotel, the biggest jewel heist on record in France.
The French Riviera palace was one of the backdrops to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1955 classic “To Catch a Thief,” which stars Cary Grant as a former jewel thief.
Leviev/KLG Jewelry LLC, which is owned by Israeli magnate Lev Leviev, said in a statement the gems were to be on public display until the end of August. “Company officials are cooperating with local authorities investigating the loss and are relieved that no one was injured in the robbery,” it added.
The Carlton robbery was the work of a lone burglar, who reportedly entered through an unlocked French window, threatened security personnel with a gun and left with a case filled with pieces destined for the “Extraordinary Diamonds” exhibit.
Jewel thieves struck twice during the Cannes film festival in May, making off with $1 million worth of gems from the hotel room of an employee of Swiss jewelry and watch firm Chopard, and stealing a De Grisogono necklace valued at 2 million euros, or $2.6 million, during a star-studded party at Cap d’Antibes.
Labor unions representing hotel staff have called for security measures to be stepped up in their establishments.