Armed jewelry thieves target Kardashian West in Paris
PARIS (AP) — Armed robbers forced their way into a private Paris residence where Kim Kardashian West was staying, tied her up and locked her in a bathroom before making off with more than $10 million worth of jewelry, police officials said Monday.
A spokeswoman for Kardashian West said the reality TV star, who was in Paris attending fashion week shows, was badly shaken but physically unharmed. Police said she left Paris Monday morning a few hours after the incident took place.
A Paris police official said five assailants, who were still at large, stole a jewelry box containing valuables worth 6 million euros ($6.7 million) as well as a ring worth 4 million euros ($4.5 million.) In a message to The Associated Press, the Paris prosecutors' office said that only two of the five suspects forced their way into the apartment
Police said the thieves entered the 19th-century luxury residence in Paris' chic eighth district after the concierge let them in around 2:30 a.m. local time. Handcuffed and at gunpoint, he led them to the starlet's flat.
Two police officials said the robbers tied up Kardashian West and locked her in the bathroom before escaping on bikes. They were not authorized to be publicly named speaking about ongoing investigations.
It's unclear whether the couple's two children, 3-year-old daughter North and 10-month-old son Saint, were with Kardashian West when the robbery happened. Police said the actress' family was placed under police protection at the George V hotel.
Her husband, Kanye West, abruptly ended his performance at the Meadows Music and Arts Festival in New York on Sunday night.
"I'm sorry, family emergency, I have to stop the show," West told the audience.
With France under a state of emergency following extremist attacks that left more than 200 people dead in the last 20 months, news of the robbery immediately sparked criticism from political opponents of the Socialist government.
Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, a right-wing member of Paris council and a potential candidate in next year's presidential election, said the robbery was proof that "there is a general emergency on security" in the French capital.
"Regardless of all the very expensive advertising we do to promote 'I Love Paris,' tourism and the image of Paris, all these ads have been brutally canceled by the Kim Kardashian case," Kosciusko-Morizet told Europe 1 radio.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, a close ally of Socialist president Francois Hollande, condemned the assault and said Kardashian West will "always be welcome in Paris."
Hidalgo said she is confident police will quickly identify and arrest the suspects and that the "very rare" incident "in no way calls into question police work or security of public space" in Paris.
Hidalgo also urged politicians across the spectrum not to exploit the incident for political gains in the lead-up to the presidential election.
"In a complicated context for tourism, in which boosting attendance must be the priority of all, using this incident for polemical purposes would amount to directly harming the tourism sector, which represents 500,000 jobs" in the Paris region, Hidalgo said.
Kardashian West has the habit of showing of her jewels and whereabouts in her social media, including in recent days when she posted pictures of her attending fashion week shows. A few days ago, she also flashed a big ring on Twitter and Instagram
Kardashian West was also ambushed last week by a serial celebrity accoster who attempted to assault her as she was entering a restaurant. She was also attacked outside of a Paris fashion week show in 2014. She wasn't hurt in either incident.
Paris has been a special place for Kardashian West and her husband, who spent the weekend there before marrying in Florence in May 2014.