Two jailed over Monaco Cartier store jewel heist

Published December 17, 2019, 6:52 AM

by Patrick Garcia

By Agence France-Presse

A court in Monaco on Monday jailed two men over the spectacular robbery of six million euros worth of jewels from a Cartier store in 2017.

The raid on the Cartier store in the centre of the principality was carried out in broad daylight on a rainy Saturday.

In seven minutes robbers stole 127 jewels, while the store personnel were held in the basement.

The two men, originally from Vallauris in southern France and aged 19 and 25, both admitted to participating in the theft.

One of them made the store’s security guard open the door and held up the store at gunpoint, while the other, unarmed, watched to make sure the shop personnel did not raise the alarm.

Walid Bekkada, accused of threatening the guard, was sentenced to 10 years in prison by Monaco’s criminal court.

“I am not a gangster,” he told the court.

“I came to Monaco to do what I was asked to do,” he added, without giving any details of a possible backer.

The other accused Sofiane Gallah, 19, received a seven-year jail sentence for his part in the heist.

“I live in a neighbourhood where there is nothing but bad company. I had to leave if I want to succeed for the rest of my life,” he said, referring to his youth in a housing estate.

Two others alleged to be involved in the theft were arrested in France where they will be put on trial.

The thieves were chased by some 60 Monegasque police after the raid. Nearly all of the jewels were recovered after their arrest.

Armed robberies are rare in Monaco, one of Europe’s playgrounds for the rich, although in 2012 four Lithuanian men stole a collection of around 50 watches worth around 200,000 euros from a jewellery store.