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Cannes victim of new hold-up days after luxury hotel heist

CANNES (AFP) - The French Riviera resort of Cannes was once again the scene of a hold-up on Wednesday, just three days after a man robbed an upmarket hotel in one of the world's biggest jewellery heists.

Local prosecutors said two men armed with a grenade and gun burst into a store selling luxury watches and made off with 100 to 150 items, just a couple of blocks away from the Carlton hotel, the scene of a record US$136 million (S$173 million) robbery on Sunday.

The glamourous Mediterranean resort has fallen prey to thieves several times this year, notably during the film festival in May, which attracted a glittering array of movie stars.

Wednesday's theft at the Kronometry store has been valued at "one to 1.5 million euros", prosecutors in the nearby city of Grasse said.

The shop is one of many luxury stores on the posh beachfront strip known as La Croisette, and sits opposite the venue for the famed Cannes film festival.

According to the prosecutors, one man walked into the shop dressed like a tourist, holding a grenade, and the other followed with a gun. Both were in their twenties.

They threatened the manager and three salespeople, asked them to open cabinets and took the watches before fleeing the scene, without using their weapons.

The store was also the victim of a million-euro heist in February, when robbers made away with some 150 watches.

Sunday's theft at the Carlton - one of the biggest jewellery heists ever recorded worldwide - stunned police and media with its simplicity.

An armed man just walked into the hotel, which is popular with the rich and famous and was the location of Alfred Hitchcock's 1955 thriller "To Catch a Thief".

He made off on foot with earrings, pendants and other jewellery from an exhibition titled "Extraordinary Diamonds" put on by a group owned by Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev.

The show was being held in a wing of the hotel with direct access to the street.

Authorities, workers and unions have since questioned security at the famed Carlton hotel, where managers have been accused of being "a little careless".

The world's largest ever haul of jewellery - valued at around 100 million euros - took place in Belgium in 2003, while Sunday's heist was France's biggest jewellery theft.