Jewels stolen during film festival
05:00 AM, May 17, 2013
CANNES, France — Thieves broke into the room of a House of Chopard employee at the Novotel hotel and stole jewels that were being kept in a safe.
The robbery took place just hours after the cast of director Sofia Coppola’s new film The Bling Ring walked the red carpet Thursday night for the premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. The Bling Ring is a true story about a group of teens who broke into celebrity homes to steal their valuables.
Chopard was hosting a gala event across town at the same time.
“It’s horrible that someone went out and did that,” The Bling Ring producer Youree Henley told USA TODAY. “The fact that it happened on the night of our premiere is kind of amazing. I guess there are a lot of Bling Rings out there.”
“I can see someone snatching up the movie rights and doing a movie on it and having the premiere here. It will be Bling Ring the sequel.”
Coppola told USA TODAY, “I was going to say that it’s a publicity stunt (for her movie). I feel very Bling Ring just being here. Everything is so glittery. It all feels connected.”
Coppola and her cast have an alibi, she joked. “We were at a premiere and a party.”
Chopard loans expensive jewels to actresses who are walking the red carpet at the festival. Actress Julianne Moore already has appeared in Chopard jewelry.
“The jewels stolen are not part of the collection of jewels that are worn by actresses during the Cannes Film Festival,” said Chopard’s Raffaella Rossiello.
“The value of the pieces stolen is far lower than those in the figures circulating in the media,” she said. Rossiello would not say why the jewels were brought to the Novotel during the film festival.
Cmdr. Bernard Mascarelli, spokesman for judicial police in nearby Nice, said the jewelry could be worth approximately $1 million. “There must have been either an inside complicity, or people who were in contact with this person and knew that the person had jewels.”
Chopard, the Swiss-based watch and jewelry maker and one of the sponsors of the film festival, also manufactures the crystal and gold Palme d’Or trophy and has put the precious item in a safe, undisclosed location.
The 120-room Novotel caters to businessmen and is well off the Promenade de la Croisette, where many expensive shops, restaurants and hotels are located. The lobby is decorated with red and green fake leather furniture and a refrigerator with a selection of food that guests can take to their rooms.
The manager of the Novotel confirmed an internal investigation is underway. One employee described the situation as “surreal.” Another, who would not give his name because he is not authorized by the hotel to talk with the press, said, “It’s crazy right? Nothing happens here.”
This isn’t the first time that there has been a robbery at Cannes. In 2009, a lone gunman walked into a Chopard jewelry store and made off with $8 million worth of bling. Also in 2009, a group of armed men wearing Hawaiian shirts and masks riding motorbikes nabbed $21 million in jewelry from a Cartier store in Paris.
Bulgari also lends significant jewels to actresses for appearances on the red carpet at the film festival. Next week, Jessica Chastain will wear jewelry from Elizabeth Taylor’s collection at a screening of the restored Cleopatra. No changes are being made for the event, according to a spokesman.