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Cannes Jewel Heist Nets Bling Worth $53 Million

A jewelry exhibit at the posh Carlton Hotel in Cannes was held up on Sunday and an estimated $53 million worth of goods was swiped. It was the third such heist in the French Riviera resort in as many months.

A police spokesman, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, says one or more thieves took the jewels around noon on Sunday, but it wasn't immediately clear if they were armed.

The robber or robbers reportedly made off with the jewels in a briefcase, but there were no other details immediately available.

The heist follows two such thefts in Cannes in May – one that nabbed $1 million worth of jewels from the hotel room of an employee of an exclusive Swiss jeweler and another that got away with a Swiss-designed necklace worth $2.5 million at a celebrity party at another five-star hotel in the city.

It could be pure coincidence, but as we reported last week, Bosnian jewel thief Milan Poparic broke out of a Swiss prison on Friday in a daring escape that involved all the elements of a Hollywood thriller, including a van ramming the gate. Poparic was the third member of the so-called 'Pink Panther' gang to escape since May.

Update at 3:15 p.m. EDT:

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley says French media is reporting that it was a single, masked gunman who pulled off the heist.

She says the hotel was hosting a temporary jewelry exhibit of the prestigious Leviev diamond house, owned by Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev.

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