The Apple shop in Paris’s Opera district was robbed by armed, masked men on New Year’s Eve, under the noses of riot police patrolling the nearby Champs Elysées.
Reports claimed the thieves, armed with handguns, made off with as much as one million euros (£780,000) worth of products, although police would not confirm the total, noting that the store’s director was still processing the lost inventory.
Masked men forced their way into a back entrance around 9pm, three hours after the store closed, as a janitor was leaving. The janitor was “lightly injured” in the process.
Rather than snatching the iPhones, iPads and Macs on display, the thieves went straight for boxes of stocked material. Accomplices waited in a nearby, parked truck, in which the goods were loaded, and a successful getaway was made around 9:40pm. Four or five men are believed to be have been involved with the robbery.
“They prepared their coup pretty well,” said Christophe Crépin, a representative of the French police union Unsa, noting that it was relatively easy to escape, because large boulevards near the store situated just behind the Palais Garnier opera house, led to several different parts of the city. In addition, “since the essential bulk of police forces were mobilised to patrol the Champs-Elysées, the thieves clearly profited from the opportunity to make their move,” Mr Crépin added.
However, another Paris police source told The Telegraph there was no shortage of security forces in the city on New Year’s, since added riot police were brought in from out of town to patrol crowded areas like the Champs-Elysées, where some 300,000 people celebrated on Monday night.
“A police presence is put in place every New Year’s near the Eiffel Tower, Trocadero and Champs-Elyséees, but that doesn’t intervene at all with the regular security on duty in other parts of Paris,” said the police source.
A video of the robbery is expected to provide helpful clues to the special Paris brigade for “the repression of banditry,” known as the PJ, which is leading the investigation.