Kim Kardashian was bound, gagged, and placed in a bath tub at approximately 3 am local time inside her room at the Hôtel de Pourtalès, also known as the “No Address Hotel.”
The hotel is known for its slew of secret entrances and exits providing cover to the rich and famous while they’re staying in Paris – for up to $30,000 a week. Despite the anonymity it provides, two men along with at least 3 other accomplices, were able to make away with roughly $10 million in jewelry and other items. The concierge was forced to turn over Mrs. Kardashian-West’s room number before being tied up and left while the theft was committed.
The thieves burst into her room wearing uniforms, which appeared to identify them as police adding gloves and balaclavas (ski masks) to the ensemble, before making out with the loot. The prize item taken was a $4.5m ring.
But now that they have the goods, what’s the next move?
Often the moving of stolen items can be as difficult as stealing it in the first place and it will depend heavily on their level of planning. In many cases a specific buyer is already lined up or the criminals may be part of a larger group with a network put in place to assist in any sales. Either way they are extremely unlikely to acquire market value for any of the goods. The diamonds will likely be broken into smaller pieces, which will reduce the value, but make them more difficult to trace. And if any of the gems have laser serial numbers that will create an additional hurdle.
The metal bands can be melted down then sold as raw materials. No matter what the approach is it is unlikely that the men in her hotel room will handle the sale themselves. Also the extensiveness of the International diamond trade could see the pieces travel as far the United States by the time they’re finally sold.
The major jewelry districts in the U.S. are New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Miami, but they could honestly end up anywhere in the world where the price is right.
Following the heist the stolen items will probably find themselves in the hands of a fence who will be responsible for putting them in possession of potential buyers. Or even a “flying fence” or courier who will smuggle the goods to another country, preferably one outside of the EU to avoid extradition.
If you want to get lost down a rabbit hole Google “The Pink Panthers,” and how their operations are located in the Balkans – primarily in Serbia and Montenegro and the advantages of this is the fact those countries are not members of the European Union and therefore don’t need to cooperate with Interpol. This gang becomes particularly appropriate to use for comparisons sake since they are already one of the prime suspects for last night’s robbery.
In a 2013 Guardian piece that featured an interview with a fence for the Panthers and the cut of the proceeds were broken down as such:
- Thieves get approximately 30-40% of the market value
- The courier takes 5%
- The fence receives around 15%
There may be other middle-men involved depending on the intricacy of the operation such as an individual involved in forging diamond certificates to create the illusion that the stolen items are legitimate.
Larger pieces will probably end up resold in one form or another, while smaller diamonds act as the perfect currency for blackmarket criminals. Cash is often quite traceable and monitored, however it is much more difficult to track the movement of diamonds.
The best case scenario for the perpetrators of this high profile crime will lead to perhaps a 5-way split of $3 to $4 million. And with all things considered that’s not so bad for a night’s work.
Only time will tell about the sophistication of the last night’s crooks and their ability to elude authorities. I admit I fall victim to the romance involved in a jewelry heist, but I can do nothing but wish ill-will on anyone who allows the Kardashians to achieve any additional notoriety and attention.
All we know as of now is that the season premiere of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” is going to be LIT.