Crooks face tough ques­tion: now what?

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

PULLING off a US$10 mil­lion dol­lar jewel heist is one thing – but find­ing a buyer is an­other, say ex­perts, pre­dict­ing that the rob­bers who tar­geted Kim Kar­dashian would strug­gle to dis­pose of their loot. Kar­dashian, the world’s high­est-paid re­al­ity tele­vi­sion star, was held up at gun­point in a lux­ury Paris apart­ment in the early hours of Oc­to­ber 3.

The rob­bers made off with a ring worth 4 mil­lion eu­ros ($4.5 mil­lion) and a case of jew­ellery with a value of 5 mil­lion eu­ros ($5.6 mil­lion).

San­drine Mar­cot, acting pres­i­dent of the French union of jewellers and watch­mak­ers, said the value of the haul would “crash” due to the me­dia hype around the heist and the recog­nis­abil­ity of the stolen goods. “Ev­ery­one knows that ring. It won’t be easy to get rid of it,” a po­lice source said.

Last week, Kar­dashian had posted a Twit­ter pho­to­graph of her left hand sport­ing a huge di­a­mond sparkler – re­port­edly a 20-carat ring by Lor­raine Schwartz given to her by her hus­band, rap superstar Kanye West.

“These are not ev­ery­day jew­els. These are unique pieces,” Mar­cot told AFP, pre­dict­ing the spoils of the raid would be cut into smaller gems to con­ceal their ori­gin.

Pre­cious stones of­ten come stamped with a laser mark, mak­ing them “ex­tremely easy to trace”, Mar­cot said.

Some laser marks are so deep they are im­pos­si­ble to cover up but others can be con­cealed by savvy polishing, mak­ing the stone “dif­fi­culty to iden­tify, un­like, for ex­am­ple, a stolen paint­ing”, the po­lice source said.

In most cases, the rob­bers work with sev­eral in­ter­me­di­aries, in­clud­ing a shady jew­eller in charge of whit­tling down the gem into less con­spic­u­ous stones.

But a gem that has been re­cut is worth only a frac­tion of its ini­tial value. Kar­dashian’s ring could lose three-quar­ters of its value af­ter be­ing re­worked, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

And yet de­spite the dif­fi­culty in dis­pos­ing of eye-pop­ping jew­els, they still ex­ert a pow­er­ful pull on thieves, with Mon­day’s rob­bery the lat­est in a string of brazen heists around France in re­cent years.

“You will al­ways have cus­tomers who want stones or to melt down the metal,” the po­lice ex­pert said.

Just steal­ing pre­cious gems and ren­der­ing them un­recog­nis­able does not make for the per­fect crime, how­ever. Rob­bers also need to have con­nec­tions in the jew­ellery busi­ness to get a good price for their spoils.

The gang that walked into the ex­clu­sive Harry Win­ston store in Paris in 2008 dis­guised as women, mak­ing off with loot worth up to 85 mil­lion eu­ros, failed mis­er­ably at the fi­nal hur­dle. Know­ing noth­ing about jew­ellery, the leader of the gang from the Paris sub­urbs en­trusted the sale to a friend. His friend’s gem trad­ing acu­men proved rudi­men­tary. In four deals, he man­aged to amass only 483,000 eu­ros. –

Photo: Face­book/Mu­sicvideotop

Kim Kar­dashian, shown here at the MTV VMAs in Au­gust, sports a 20-carat ring given to her by her hus­band Kanye West. The ring was stolen by thieves in Paris ear­lier this week, but ex­perts say find­ing a buyer for the hot jew­els will be no easy task.

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