Grand Scale Bank Robbery in Paris

We’ve all seen films about huge bank robberies, undercover gang operations and heists. Remember the intricate planning and detail that went into the Casino robbery in Oceans 11, the film enjoyed by many of our French escorts? Stealing millions is no mean feat. However, this week some thieves in Paris achieved one of the biggest burglaries of recent years, in a plot that sounds like it’s come straight from the movies.

Yesterday, investigators of the case described how a group of robbers drilled tunnels into a bank vault in Paris, breaking into about 100 safety deposit boxes that are used by private bank customers. Although the robbery itself was fairly traditional, those involved had very sophisticated equipment at their disposal which made the operation possible. The task of working out the value of what has been stolen will be a very long and difficult process.

The incident occurred during the late hours of Saturday night, when the robbers broke into the Credit Lyonnais (LCL) branch located on Avenue de l’Opera. This area is right in the centre of the tourism district in Paris, in between the Louvre and the old Opera House. They tunnelled in from a cellar next door and used the ventilation pipes to pass through.

Only one security guard was on duty at the bank because the branch was closed, undergoing renovations. After hearing some noises coming from the basement, he was confronted by three men from the group, tied to a chair and told not to move. He was unable to overpower the robbers single handedly. The gang then cut a hole in the thick wall using a drill, just large enough for some of the gang to break through and access the safety deposit boxes. With around 125 clients renting those boxes, the bank would not disclose the exact number of boxes that were broken into.

It was just after 7.00am on Sunday when the guard was finally able to raise the alarm; by this point he could no longer hear drilling and had begun to smell smoke. The robbers abandoned all of their tools, but set fire to the building to disguise any evidence they may have left behind. Four or five men were seen leaving the area in a van, witnesses reported.

Unfortunately, the fire set off the bank’s automatic sprinklers, which flooded the basement leaving it inaccessible to police until Monday. The guard is said to be in good health, but is undergoing medical checks as he may have been left traumatised by the ordeal.