JEAN-PAUL GUERLAIN, SHOT IN ROBBERY, IS OUT OF HOSPITAL
Byline: Jennifer Weil
PARIS — Jean-Paul Guerlain, master perfumer at French fragrance manufacturer Guerlain, was shot in the leg during a robbery in his home early Friday morning and was reported in stable condition after surgery to remove the nine-millimeter bullet.
“He’s doing well,” said Thibault Ponroy, chairman of Guerlain worldwide, on Friday. The 61-year-old Guerlain was discharged from Hopital Andre Mignot in Chesnay over the weekend.
Guerlain’s vast estate, which is in Mesnuls, about a half-hour outside of Paris, has been in the family for more than 100 years. The house is filled with art — reportedly including an Oudry painting from the 18th century — and equestrian memorabilia. It sits on an expansive tract of land.
Local police said that according to witness accounts, at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, four cars with 10 to 12 people drove onto Guerlain’s property.
Earlier in the evening, Guerlain hosted a gala cocktail party at his Champs-Elysees flagship store here, celebrating the launch of the company’s newest fragrance, Guerlinade, and the 170th anniversary of the house.
According to reports, the masked and gloved thieves, who were armed with pistols, pump shot guns and brass knuckles, quickly rounded up 20 people in four buildings and held them hostage for about four hours while they looted the estate. The property’s caretaker, Roberto Rimenes, was hit on the head early on in the fracas.
At about 3 a.m., the burglars brought Guerlain up to his second-floor bedroom, purportedly to gather some more valuables. Upon entering the room, Guerlain reached for a gun that fires blanks and was shot in the thigh.
During the fray, one unnamed employee — reportedly a carpenter — tried to escape by jumping out of the bedroom window, which was 19 feet above ground. Meanwhile, Guerlain’s steward, Francois Decanter, was shot twice in the chest. The local hospital would not divulge conditions of Rimenes or the carpenter, though it’s reported they are in stable condition. The Hopital Beaujon in Paris would not reveal the state of Decanter, who reportedly is in critical condition.
It was reported that during the break-in, over $1.7 million worth of jewels, cash and silverware were stolen. There has been no confirmation that other valuables were taken, including the horses from Guerlain’s stables.
At presstime on Sunday, no one had been apprehended.