PARIS — Two thieves robbed a Cartier store near the Champs-Elysées in Paris on Tuesday evening, exchanging shots with police and briefly holding a man hostage before surrendering, authorities said.
The men, armed with a Kalashnikov rifle and a handgun, burst into the Cartier store on Rue François 1er around 6:30 p.m. and filled their bags with jewelry before fleeing the scene. Video footage broadcast on the Web site of radio station Europe 1 showed them exchanging fire with police as they sped away on a scooter.
Officers chased the two men to the neighboring 15th arrondissement, where they took refuge in a hairdressing salon, holding the manager hostage. The robbers gave themselves up shortly before 9 p.m.
Cartier confirmed the robbery in a statement.
“It is with great relief that we can confirm that there were no casualties amongst the clients or the staff present in the store at that time. At this stage, we are waiting for the results of the police investigations,” it said, adding that the loot has been recovered.
It was the most spectacular to date in a series of jewelry heists in the French capital in the last year. Among the stores targeted in the last 12 months are Audemars Piguet, de Grisogono, DoDo and concept store Colette.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve lauded the members of the Research and Intervention Brigade, an elite police special unit, for its “composure and professionalism” in securing the release of the hostage, who was unharmed.