Kim Kardashian is safely back at home in New York with her husband, Kanye West, following a very early Monday robbery at gunpoint in Paris. Two men dressed as French police officers broke into her luxurious apartment in the Eighth Arrondissement’s Hôtel de Pourtalès, tied up her hands and put a gag in her mouth before locking her in a bathroom.
They escaped with three other accomplices on bikes. The robbers made off with jewelry worth $10 million including a ring valued at $4.5 million, a jewelry box worth an estimated $5.6 million, credit cards, and cellphones. It was not known immediately which jewelry items were stolen. West gave Kardashian an engagement ring in 2013, and he followed that up last month by presenting her with a second ring adorned with a huge stone.
Her spokeswoman told The Associated Press that Kardashian was “badly shaken but physically unharmed”.
Attention is turning now to the likely fate of the Kardashian jewels, whether they were insured, and how other celebrities can protect themselves from similar jewel heists.
The robbers will have a hard time unloading jewelry stolen from Kardashian, one of the world’s most recognized celebrities. Security experts say Kardashian’s fame most likely will make it even harder for the culprits to fence the pieces in their original forms. Small fry criminals might take stolen diamonds, jewelry or watches to a pawnshop, but good luck with that.
Security insiders say nobody would want to handle the sale of stolen jewelry in its original form. A diamond ring would probably be cut into smaller stones, which would bring a fraction of the value of the original piece but would be much more difficult to trace. Metal pieces would be melted down.
Other said the robbers might have found someone who agreed to sell the pieces before they committed the robbery. The jewels even could have even been stolen on order. In an era when jewel robberies are increasingly in the news, how can an owner safeguard their collection?
Security experts recommend owners take pictures of jewelry in case of theft. Law enforcement usually sends around photos of stolen goods to legitimate traders. Owners also can inscribe jewelry with a laser marking that is invisible to the naked eye. They suggest a forensic property marking that can only be detected under UV light.
The only adequate protection against jewel thieves is a personal jewelry policy, according to the insurance industry. Unless their insurance broker secures coverage, customers have no protection against theft or loss as soon as they walk out the door of the jewelry store with their new purchase.
There was no immediate word on whether Kardashian’s jewelry was insured.
A number of athletes and celebrities have been victims of jewel heists in recent years. They become targets because they have very high media profiles, they are recognizable and they are frequently depicted wearing expensive jewelry. Many travel constantly and frequently appear at public events.
New York Knicks player Derrick Williams lost $750,000 in jewelry last year during a robbery at his home. A thief stole more than $150,000 in 2010 in sports memorabilia, electronics and jewelry from the South Carolina home of former NBA player Jayson Williams while he was away.
Also in 2010, NBA player Stephen Jackson and his wife were robbed of jewelry and wallets at his gated community in Charlotte, N.C. His wife was held at gunpoint and locked in a bathroom. In 2008, former NFL player Steve Smith was robbed of jewelry, his cell phone and money when he was held up at gunpoint outside his gated-community home.
Thieves stole an estimated $2 million in jewelry and other items from the Hollywood Hills, California home of Paris Hilton in 2008.