Paris Heist: Jewel Thieves Hide In Hair Salon

Two gunmen robbed a Cartier store in Paris before taking a hostage, leading police on a chase across the city and then taking cover inside a hair salon.

One witness in the Champs-Elysees branch of the luxury jewellery company said the two men, who did not seem 'professional', burst in and forced three customers and around 10 staff to lie down.

They demanded the store's showcases be opened, but were interrupted by the sound of police sirens.

The suspects, who were armed with an AK-47 and a 9mm pistol, fled with the store manager and the jewellery they had managed to gather.

A witness who gave his name as Vincent said he saw one of them was wearing a trench coat and a beret, with a towel in one hand and the hostage in the other.

'Everyone tried to hide,' he said.

Witness Julien Reabourg, who works in a bar across the street, said: 'I got my clients away from the window in order to avoid stray bullets going left and right that could hit one of them.

Gallery: Jewel Thieves Hide In Hair Salon After Heist

'So we went to the back of the bar and after we could hear gunfire.'

The men soon released their hostage and fled on a scooter while shooting in the air.

They then fell off and ran away, entering a hair salon - the first shop they could find. The manager was the only person inside and was taken hostage during a two-hour stand-off.

Around 100 police officers were mobilised during the attack on Tuesday, with the support of a helicopter.

Prosecutor Francois Molins said: 'A negotiator was able to quickly enter into contact with them.

'They agreed somewhat quickly to free the hostage safe and sound, and they turned themselves in.'

The jewellery was found inside the salon.

Mr Molins said: 'There was lots of money and jewellery that had been well-chosen.'

A police officer suffered a minor injury after being hit by a bullet fragment, while one of the suspects was injured when he fell from the scooter.

There have been a number of high-profile robberies of luxury jewellery stores in France in recent years.

A number have been attributed to the Pink Panthers, an international jewel thief network of mainly ethnic Serbs.

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