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France

Gold necklace thefts soar in Paris

Reuters/Kham
2 min

If you’re visiting Paris keep a tight hold on your bling. Thefts of the gold necklaces have risen 260 per cent in April and May this year, according to Paris police who say the rising price of gold may be to blame.

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There was already a bling-theft problem in September last year, leading then-prefect of police Michel Gaudin to launch a special action plan to clamp down on it.

In the short term it had some effect but now the theft of gold necklaces has soared.

In April 2012 154 were snatched in the city’s streets.

In May the total had risen to 400.

In September police were worried that there were about 10 thefts a day.

“Now it’s more than 10 a day,” says Paris police spokesperson Franck Carabin.

Most of the necklaces are snatched from women or old people, easy targets for petty thieves who can make a lot of money in a few seconds.

The price of gold has risen from 1,500 dollars an ounce in July 2011 to 1,600 dollars an ounce today, making the crime more and more financially worthwhile.

New prefect of police Bernard Boucault has ordered police presence to be beefed up in areas deemed to be “sensitive” as well as working with customs officers and jewellers to investigate the networks that sell the stolen goods.

The rising price of gold has also been blamed for a boom in illegal gold-panning in French Guiana, leading to the death of two soldiers on Wednesday.

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