By  on July 14, 2009

A Cartier jewelry store in Cannes, France, was robbed Monday morning by three armed men who fled with a haul estimated at up to 15 million euros, or $20.9 million.

The holdup follows a series of similar heists across Europe, the most recent being a robbery in May at the Chopard store on Place Vendôme in Paris, which was hit by a lone robber posing as a customer. The thief, wearing a fedora and an elegant suit, drew a gun and ordered staff to give him jewels from the window display. He escaped with merchandise valued at 6.5 million euros, or $9.2 million.

In the latest case, French police said the three men held up the Cannes boutique before 11 a.m. One of the robbers threatened staff, while the other two removed jewelry from display cases. No one was injured.

Cartier wasn’t immediately available for comment.

In December, a gang of armed men stole gems worth 85 million euros, or $107 million, from jeweler Harry Winston in Paris.

Police investigators have declined to comment on whether the robberies can be linked to an international gang of jewelry thieves known as the Pink Panthers, who are suspected of carrying out similar heists in the last six years. The gang has bagged loot worth as much as $200 million in an estimated 110 attacks on luxury stores in around 20 countries since their first robbery in London’s exclusive Mayfair district in 2003. Two key members of the gang were arrested in Paris in May.

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