Chick Wit: Sparkling crime capers at Cannes

The offices of Chopard in Cannes, France. Suspected thieves ripped out a safe from the wall of a hotel room of a representative of the Swiss-based watch and jewelry maker during the Cannes Film Festival.
The offices of Chopard in Cannes, France. Suspected thieves ripped out a safe from the wall of a hotel room of a representative of the Swiss-based watch and jewelry maker during the Cannes Film Festival. (VIRGINIA MAYO / Associated Press)
Posted: June 02, 2013

Once in a while a crime story comes along that makes you smile.

I'm talking about the jewelry thefts at the Cannes Film Festival, which to me are good, clean fun.

After all, there's no murder or mayhem, which can be icky.

I'm speaking, of course, as a crime writer.

Anyway, to make a long story short, the Cannes Film Festival has a red carpet that cries out for young actresses to swan around in borrowed gowns and glittery diamonds. There was probably a time in the world when this was unusual, but nowadays there are red carpets, young actresses, and glittery diamonds appearing somewhere on a weekly basis, filmed for television shows that no one watches.

Except me.

I will watch diamonds when they're worn by anybody, anyplace, at any time. Yes, I'm that idiot who will actually stand in front of a jewelry store window at the mall and stare at inanimate objects.

Correction - diamonds only appear to be inanimate, but they sparkle, shine, and twinkle, all while sitting in the very same place. I've married people who are less interesting.

To stay on point, what happened in Cannes was that an employee of Chopard, a Swiss jewelry maker, brought a lot of its diamonds to the film festival to lend to the actresses. He put the diamonds in the safe in his hotel room, only to find out later that somebody had ripped the safe out of the wall and stolen the diamonds, worth $1.4 million.

By the way, the police station was located directly across the street from the hotel.

I'm betting the thief was Gregory Peck.

And the detective was the Pink Panther.

I'm aware that these references are dated, but if you expected anything else, you're new around here.

And for the record, I was not in Cannes at the time of the heist. Oddly, I wasn't invited to the film festival this year.

Or, well, ever.

At the time, I was home, picking ticks off the dogs.

Talk about glamour!

But I read about the burglary when it happened, trying to decide if I was appalled or admiring. It was a crime that didn't involve blood or forensic analysis, which is a point in its favor. To be fair, the jeweler lost money, but was undoubtedly insured. And the insurance company lost money, but your point is?

To me, any time an insurance company pays anything, anywhere, it's a victory for all of us.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that insurance payoffs are like cockroaches in reverse, in that every time you see one payment, there are 12,000 other claims that are being denied.

I'm not even worried about whom the insurance company will pass its costs onto, because the answer is that it's the next person who insures millions of dollars worth of jewelry.

In other words, not me or you.

As for the young actresses, they undoubtedly got substitute diamonds to wear and the red carpet kept rolling. As far as I can tell, the only loser in the entire scenario was the Chopard employee who thought it was a good idea to entrust $1.4 million worth of diamonds to a hotel room safe, password-protected by the four digits of his dog's name.

Whoops, I just gave away my diamond-protecting password.

RUBY.

Ironic, no?

But if that wasn't an entertaining enough crime for you, during the same film festival at Cannes a week later, a diamond necklace was stolen during a party, and this time, the gems were worth $2.6 million.

Somebody's improving.

The necklace belonged to another Swiss jeweler, De Grisogono.

Today, I'm guessing they are De Pressed.

I read that the thief got the necklace past 80 bodyguards, local police, and hotel staff.

Somebody's going to lose his job.

They got conned, so they'll get Canned.


Look for Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella's columns in their newest collection, "Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim." Also, look for Lisa's new novel, "Don't Go," in stores now. Write to Lisa at lisa@scottoline.com.

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