Masked Gunmen Steal Over $1.3 Million From Apple's Paris Store

Apple Store Paris RobberyApple's Opéra Retail Store in Paris.

Apple’s Paris Retail Store was the target of an armed robbery on New Year’s Eve, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. Masked gunmen made off with Apple products worth a total of over US$1 million during the brazen event.

The robbery began at about 9:00 p.m. local time on Monday, December 31 at the Apple Store Opéra behind the Palais Garnier. Conflicting reports between European news outlets claim that either a janitor or both a janitor and security guard were at the store as the robbery took place.

Although French police have yet to confirm the details of the event, unofficial accounts claim that up to five gunmen forced their way into the store as the janitor was leaving, approximately three hours after the store had closed for the New Year’s holiday. The men focused on boxed products in the store’s stockroom, largely ignoring the tethered devices on display in the front of the store.

Apple Paris Store RobberyInside Apple's Opéra Paris Retail Store

All told, the incident lasted 40 minutes, at which point the robbers successfully escaped into the large boulevards near the store, carrying approximately €1 million worth of goods, or US$1.3 million. There were thankfully no serious injuries, although The Telegraph reports that the janitor involved was “lightly injured.”

The robbery may have been timed to coincide with a police focus on the Champs-Elysées, one of the world’s most famous and festive streets, for the night’s celebrations that brought over 300,000 people to the area. “They prepared their coup pretty well, since the essential bulk of police forces were mobilised to patrol the Champs-Elysées, the thieves clearly profited from the opportunity to make their move,” Christophe Crépin, a representative of the French police union UNSA, told The Telegraph.

However, a source officially speaking for French police stated that the focus on Champs-Elysées did not compromise security elsewhere in the city. “A police presence is put in place every New Year’s near the Eiffel Tower, Trocadero and Champs-Elyséees, but that doesn’t intervene at all with the regular security on duty in other parts of Paris,” the police source said.

Apple has not yet officially commented on the robbery and the official report on the value of the stolen merchandise is awaiting a final inventory of missing items.