$1M in jewelry taken in Cannes heist

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PARIS -- Thieves ripped a safe from the wall of a hotel room near the Cannes Film Festival and made off with around $1 million worth of jewelry, in a brazen late-night burglary.

The apparently well-planned robbery at the Novotel hotel took place in the room of an employee of Chopard, the Swiss-based watch and jewelry maker and festival sponsor that was hosting a splashy gala event in a far ritzier hotel around the same time, officials said.

Chopard has loaned jewelry to A-list stars who walk on the festival's famed red carpet.

"The jewels stolen are not part of the collection of jewels that are worn by actresses during the Cannes film festival," Chopard spokeswoman Raffaella Rossiello told reporters in a brief statement.

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Cmdr. Bernard Mascarelli, a judicial police spokesman in the nearby city of Nice, said he didn't know the exact type of jewelry taken, or its exact value. "Numbers have been put forward that we're still trying to verify, but the figure of $1 million . . . we're in that range," he said. Another official said early estimates were that the loot could have been worth as much as $1.4 million.

But Rossiello said, "The value of the pieces stolen is far lower than those in the figures circulating in the media." She did not say why the jewelry was brought to the Novotel during the film festival. -- AP

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