Paris Gang Of Thieves Jailed Over Celebrity Burglaries

Footballer Thiago Silva's home was burgled as he played a match for Paris Saint-Germain Footballer Thiago Silva's home was burgled as he played a match for Paris Saint-Germain

A gang of burglars has been jailed over the theft of valuables from the homes of celebrities in France.

The seven men and one woman were accused of targeting high-profile figures in Paris, including footballer Thiago Silva in 2018 and 2019.

The thieves stole jewellery and other items worth an estimated €4.2m (£3.6m; $5m).

Police believe the gang climbed buildings and entered through windows to carry out the burglaries.

Investigators later found loot and a list of potential targets during a search of a flat in Paris, leading to the arrests of the thieves in 2019.

On Wednesday the defendants, aged between 27 and 31, were sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to six years.

The highest sentences of six years were given to Abdelazim G and Mohamed S, who was reportedly nicknamed The Cat for his climbing prowess.

He was also convicted of possessing a weapon after a pistol was found in his car.

The other five men were convicted of involvement in burglaries, while the only woman on trial was given an 18-month suspended sentence for concealing stolen goods and possessing a weapon.

A lawyer for Abdelazim G told the Le Figaro newspaper that his client was motivated by the allure of "easy money" but had expressed regret for his actions.

Which celebrities did the burglars target?

Wealthy players for top-flight French football team Paris St-Germain were among their primary targets.

Striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting of Paris St-Germain was playing in a Uefa Champions League match against Liverpool in late November 2018, when valuables worth around €600,000 were stolen from his home.

Less than a month later Thiago Silva - who was PSG captain at the time before moving to Chelsea - returned from a French league game to find that jewellery and watches were missing. His losses were put at €1.2m.

CCTV footage showed two suspects scaling a drainpipe and entering his home through a window, before carrying the stolen goods away in bags.

Other victims of the gang include French rapper Booba, TV host Patrick Sébastien, chef Jean-Pier The homes of celebrities in Paris have been a frequent target of burglars in recent years.

At least three other Paris St-Germain players, including Argentine forwards Mauro Icardi and Ángel Di María, have been burgled this year.

In 2016, American celebrity Kim Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint at her luxury Paris residence.

Robbers have also targeted hotels such as the historic Peninsula Hotel, which was raided by an armed gang that seized jewellery and clothing worth at least €350,000 in 2019.

Source: BBC