DIAMOND THIEVES BUSTED

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DNA found on the restraints used to tie up Kim Kardashian during her robbery in October led to the arrest of 17 suspects Monday — just the latest twist in a jewelry heist that played out like a Hollywood blockbuster.

The crew of seasoned criminals included one of Kardashian’s chauffeurs in Paris, who cops say may have set her up by feeding information about her location and bodyguards.

Among his alleged accomplices were two women who tailed the reality-TV star in the days before the nearly $10 million robbery at her ritzy rented Parisian pad in during Paris Fashion Week, police said.

Kardashian was held up at gunpoint by five masked men who made off with her jewelry, including a $4.5 million ring that her hubby, Kanye West, gave to her as an anniversary gift.

Authorities are investigating the possibility that the bling was moved to Antwerp, known as the diamond capital of Europe. Belgian police have joined the probe and were checking local ports.

The gang was taken down in coordinated raids launched at about 6 a.m. in and around the City of Light as well as in southern France, reports said.

The DNA on the restraints busted the case wide open after authorities learned it belonged to a longtime criminal, and he was quickly linked to many of the others, the Guardian reported.

Another thief accidentally dropped part of the haul — a diamond-encrusted cross pendant made by the renowned jewelers Jacob & Co. — on the street during his bicycle getaway, reports said.

His prints were lifted from the pendant, identifying him, too, they said.

“These arrests are a nice surprise because, on the one hand, it will perhaps make it possible to find the jewelry,” Kardashian’s French lawyer, Jean Veil, told The Sun.

“On the other hand, it puts an end to the outrageous speculation by some who thought it was intelligent to pretend that this robbery was staged, or a publicity stunt organized by Ms. Kardashian,” he said, adding that his client was looking forward to “putting her nose up” at everyone who doubted her.

The suspects were 14 men and three women ages 23 to 72, officials said.

According to Veil, the buxom beauty may be interviewed again by investigators to help identify the suspects.

A French judge may even travel to New York to question her and show her video of them, a report said.

“The hope is that she will be able to recognize the men so as to make positive identifications,” an insider told The Mirror.

The suspects included the five people who posed as policemen and broke into Kardashian’s apartment, sealed her mouth with duct tape, bound her wrists and left her tied up in the bathtub Oct. 3 at the chic Hôtel de Pourtalés before swiping jewelry, the French paper Le Monde reported.

One of Kardashian’s Paris chauffeurs may have been in on the heist, sources told Le Monde.

The man works at the limo company that the reality star’s family frequently uses in the French capital and is believed to have been the last person to drive Kardashian on the night she was robbed, the report said.

Several French media outlets reported that the chauffeur is 27 years old and that authorities believe he may have given the thieves sensitive information about her whereabouts during her stay for Paris Fashion Week.

He also reportedly tipped off the others that her bodyguard was absent and gave them details about the Hôtel de Pourtalès.

Another of the suspects was a 60-year-old man who tied her up in a bathroom, Europe 1 reported.

Many of the suspects, who include two diamond dealers, have lengthy rap sheets for crimes including armed robbery, officials said. They can be detained for up to 96 hours before police must either charge them or set them free.

Two brothers  were among 17 people busted following  the theft of Kim Kardashian’s  20-carat engagement ring.  The unidentified 50-something men, who live in the Parisian suburb of Raincy, were “involved in the diamond trade, and are thought to have handled the stolen jewelry,” a law-enforcement source told the Daily Mail.

“Their homes have been searched from top to bottom, and so has a jewelry shop in Paris which is also linked to them,” the source said. “The jewelry has not yet been found — but these brothers could lead us to it over the coming days.”

The brothers were believed to be frequent visitors to Antwerp, the Belgian city known as the diamond capital of Europe.

“It’s a town where jewelry can be sold on with no questions asked,” the source said. “The men know the industry inside out, and may well know exactly where the ring went.”

The $4.5 million ring is engraved with the word “Adidas,” as her rapper hubby, Kanye West, had requested.
Meanwhile, authorities are focusing on a possible inside job in the brazen heist after the arrests of Kardashian’s chauffeur, Michael Madar, 40, and his brother, Gary Madar, 27, both of whom worked for the same limo company.

Michael drove her home on the night of the robbery, the French daily Le Monde reported.

Police have confirmed reports that the driver would have known all of Kardashian’s movements – strengthening the theory of an inside job.

Kardashian and Kanye were seen grabbing sushi in Beverly Hills on Monday night — hours after raids in and around the City of Lights, as well as in southern France, netted the arrests of the 17 suspects ranging in age from 23 to 72.

Clad in a black sweatshirt and ripped jeans over laced tights, Kardashian held onto Kanye, who sported a gray hoodie and sweatpants.

She “is deeply relieved to know that this horrible ordeal will all come to an end soon,” a source close to Kimye told ETOnline.

The latest developments come after Monday’s coordinated raids in and around the City of Lights, as well as in southern France that netted the arrests of the seasoned criminals ranging in age from 23 to 72.

Several were known for prior robberies and other crimes, according to a police document seen by The Associated Press.

Pierre B, the 72-year-old alleged ringleader, was busted after cops broke down the gate of his mansion in Plascassier, a village in southern France, the Daily Mail reported.

It also emerged Tuesday that the key witness in the case has not been summoned to provide information because French authorities would not grant him a temporary visa to re-enter the country. –Page six

 

 

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