Seventeen people were arrested in France on Monday on suspicion of involvement in the robbery of the reality television star Kim Kardashian West during Paris Fashion Week in October, French officials said. And some of them, older men with ties to organized crime, were a generation or two removed from Ms. Kardashian West and her husband, Kanye West.
Some of the suspects were in their 50s and 60s, French officials said. The eldest, a man from Grasse in southeastern France, was born during World War II and hit retirement age before anyone had heard of Twitter or Instagram, where Ms. Kardashian West has millions of followers.
Many details about the 14 men and three women who were arrested, and about what roles the police think they played in the robbery, have yet to emerge. Under French law, they can be held for questioning for up to four days before they must be charged or released.
But French officials described the suspects as veteran criminals with years of experience and the underground skills to target Ms. Kardashian West and the valuables she sometimes flaunted.
The Kardashian West robbery took place in the early hours of Oct. 3, when five people wearing balaclavas burst into a luxury residence where Ms. Kardashian West was staying during Fashion Week. Her bodyguard was absent at the time.
The assailants held her at gunpoint, tied her up in the bathroom and took jewelry worth at least $9 million, along with cellphones and a wallet, before fleeing on bicycles or on foot.
According to French news reports, some of the DNA evidence was found on a necklace worth about $31,600 that was dropped in the street and found by a passer-by.
Luc Poignant, a police union spokesman, said officers had used that information to set up a surveillance operation that uncovered a wider criminal network.
In these kinds of networks, Mr. Poignant said, “you have the robbers, and then the one who is going to sell off the goods, the one who puts people in touch, the stone cutter, etc.”
“It didn’t take a lot of time. It took three months, and three months in this kind of investigation is quite short.”
The robbery drew international attention and renewed scrutiny of the string of thefts of luxury stores, wealthy tourists and famous visitors in and around the French capital over the past few years. In November, robbers made off with valuables worth an estimated $5.3 million after they targeted two Qatari sisters on the highway into the city from Paris-Le Bourget Airport, which is used for many private flights.
In a recent promotional clip for a coming season of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” the program on the E! cable network in which she stars, she tearfully recalled the crime.
“They’re going to shoot me in the back. There’s no way out of it.”
Jean Veil, Ms. Kardashian West’s lawyer in France, told the French newsmagazine L’Express on Monday that the arrests might help recover the jewels, and that they would also cut short “shameful speculation” that the robbery was a publicity stunt.
Courtesy of The New York Times.