France suffers two daring heists in the space of a week
Late on Monday night, a group of pesky cheese thieves broke into a cheese producer's house in the Auvergne region of France and stole 700 blocks of St Nectaire. Whilst cheese holds a very special place in the hearts of the French, it can hardly be compared to the theft of four million euros worth of jewels by axe-wielding burglars on Wednesday night.
Producer Caroline Borrel must have been rather cheesed off?
Ms Borrel slept though the theft of around ?10,000 worth of cheese despite living right next to the cellar where it was stored.
In an interview with France Bleu, Ms Borrel pointed out that it would have been impossible for a bugler to act alone. The cellar was equipped with an alarm system and video surveillance to protect its precious goods. Local police are searching for thieves, but have had no success as of yet.
Rather pleasingly, French burglars adhere to the stereotype, demonstrating a penchant for good cheese. This is not the first time that French criminals have turned to the dairy industry ? in 2015, four tones, or ?40,000, of Comté were stolen by thieves in the East of the country.
Cheese thefts are on the rise, given that burglars can make easy money with the foodstuff. The Centre for Retail Research in the UK came to the conclusion that the most stolen foodstuff in the world was cheese. Dr. Joshua Bamfield, Director of the Center for Retail Research, commented that cheese was "a lucrative business opportunity for small time criminals." He added that a lot of the cheese is for resale to other markets or restaurants.
Several days after the St Nectaire heist, France was rocked by an altogether more sinister robbery when a gang of axe wielding criminals stole millions of euros worth of jewels from the Ritz Hotel located in the French capital's luxurious Place Vendome area.
Three of the burglars were apprehended, but police have said two other members of the gang are still at large. According to an AFP journalist, security forces sealed off roads surrounding the hotel following the incident.
A hotel employee recalled in an AFP interview that "Passers-by took refuge in the hotel. We didn't know what was going on until someone told us there had been a robbery."