In a plot that plays out like a Hollywood movie, an armed thief who raided an exclusive hotel along the French Riviera got away with an estimated bounty of $50 million. Amusingly, the stolen jewels were lifted out of the very hotel where Alfred Hitchcock’s “To Catch a Thief” starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly was filmed in the 1950s. The haul didn’t come from hotel guests, but instead from a diamond exhibition on site — and it happened just days after a member of the notorious “Pink Panther” gang of jewel thieves escaped from a Swiss prison just 10 miles from the French border.
Hotels in France seem to be a hotbed for jewelry theft lately. This past May, a $2.5 million diamond necklace was stolen from a gala at a hotel during the Cannes Film Festival, just a week after $1 million of jewels was stolen from the hotel room of a Chopard employee when he was out to dinner.
Although Gadling readers might not be traveling with millions in jewels, it’s likely that there is something of value in each of our bags. Here are some tips for keeping your valuables safe:
- Do Travel Inconspicuously: avoid being targeted by criminals by wearing little or no jewelry while traveling. If you must wear a ring, turn it around so the gemstones aren’t showing.
- Don’t Check It: in the event of a lost bag (or airport employees with sticky fingers) keep anything of value in your carry-on.
- Don’t Let Your Guard Down: criminals patiently wait for the moment when travelers aren’t paying attention to grab their bags. Be especially careful in ticket lines, near restrooms and at restaurants.
- Don’t Keep Jewelry Out in the Hotel Room: while easily breached by professional thieves, a hotel safe is your best bet. Leaving anything out in the open not only makes things tempting for hotel personnel, but also for professional criminals walking by (how many times have you seen a room wide open while the cleaning crew is inside?).
- Don’t Leave Home With It: this is the best advice of all. If there’s something you can’t afford to lose while traveling, your best bet is to just leave it at home.