Armed robbers stage luxury watch heist in Paris: Sources

PARIS (AFP) - Armed robbers on Thursday raided a jewellery store near the posh Place Vendome in Paris, making off with luxury watches worth 800,000 euros (S$1.37 million), a source close to the investigation said.

Brandishing hand guns, they threatened the employees of the outlet in the heart of the French capital, the source said.

France has witnessed a series of robberies of luxury jewellery stores recently, including a brazen attack by axe- and sledgehammer-wielding men at a Vacheron Constantin store near Place Vendome. They stole watches worth hundreds of thousands of euros.

Other heists have taken place in the fashionable Riviera playground of Cannes.

In a spectacular robbery, jewel thieves made off with baubles worth $1.4 million due to be loaned to movie stars at the Cannes film festival in May.

The spurt in crime spawned an unprecedented phenomenon: massive support on social networking site Facebook for an elderly jeweller who shot dead a teenage robber in September.