I have been to the Cannes Film Festival many times. So, when I heard of the heist of jewels, worth $1.4-million, I nodded as if to say to myself, "I could easily see that happening."
First, Chopard is the company claiming the loss of the jewelry. So, considering the price of Chopard jewelry, the theft could be just one or two pieces. Second, the festival is absolute madness. In all its forms, there is one underlying characteristic -- chaos. Or as a good friend of mine says, "Freakin' chaos man!"
Here's an example. I was going to a VIP screening of Martin Scorcese's Gangs of New York, with the star-studded cast of Leonardo DiCaprio et al in attendance. It was 2002. The anticipation to see this Scorcese epic was insane. All through Cannes people were trying to find a way to get a ticket into the screening. By the way, he wasn't even showing the entire film, just 20-minutes.
Anyone who has been to the festival will tell you the gatekeepers, the temporarily hired people who looked at your credentials/tickets and say "yes" you can go here or "no" you cannot and go away, even though your festival credential/ticket allows you to go there, are people on a power trip who can be incredibly rude and nonsensical.
You could have a festival ticket that says you are attending an 18:30 event at the Palais. You arrive, show them your ticket and they will shake their head no and point for you to leave. You point at the sign behind them that matches whats on your ticket and they shake their head no again and point, with more force and direction, for you to go away.
I'm not a violent guy, but on more than one occasion I have wanted to pick up that person and throw them down the Palais steps. The French are the French. I love them except when they're minding the doors to events. Many people call those event folks at the Palais, "Palais Pricks." Again, I nod my head in agreement.
So, let's go back to Leo and Scorcese and the 20-minute sneak-peek of Gangs of New York at the Palais. After waiting for a bit, the Palais finally opens its doors, but just not any doors. Doors down back stairs, doors up some stairs and doors that lead to nowhere. It's a madhouse of confusion because inside the outside doors are more doors with more door minders. Rather than allow us to go get our seats per usual, they decided we have to go by way of neighboring Italy first and then come back and be seated. It makes absolutely no sense. There is a huge melee at my particular door. Even though we can see our seats, we are not allowed to walk the 30-feet to them. Keep in mind, this is after we've all encountered these door/ticket minders for days.
Finally, the guy in the front has had enough. He hauls off and punches the guy with an excellent right cross to the chin. The guy hits the floor -- bam! A woman quickly leans over to see if he's OK, says that he is, and the crowd roars! It didn't roar because the guy was OK, but because our pugilist had done something we all had secretly wanted to but didn't dare to do. Also, because we could now walk the 30-feet to our seats.
Back to the jewelry heist. This type of chaos is the same at the hotels across from the beach along the Promenade de la Croisette. Think of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, except with a fabulous beach across the street and wonderful, legendary hotels. During this time there are so many fans, tourists, etc crowding in front of and inside the hotels, across the street and at the beach that it is literally a human zoo without cages. I went to a Chopard event at one of the hotels, either the Martinez or the Majestic, and the security was incredible. Once inside the hotel, past the madness, Chopard had security meet me at the elevator, double check who I was, and then allowed me up to the Penthouse with a security escort. When the elevator doors opened at the Penthouse, another security guard greeted me and I was escorted to my Chopard contact and then I mingled. There was jewelry of all types plus sunglasses and more on display. All were under heavy guard. As were the celebrities in attendance. I remember thinking, Wow, Chopard is not fooling around.
It reminded me of the Oscars. Why the Oscars? I interviewed many actresses who where there with their significant other and another man. That man was security, not for the starlet, but the for the jewels on-loan around her neck, wrist and dangling from her ears.
So, for this $1.4 million dollar heist of jewels to go down in Cannes, in a Chopard employees hotel room where they were supposedly stashed for safe keeping, tells me it is an inside job. I'm no detective, but there is a hotel, a guest room with doors, an adjoining door to the guest room and the missing jewels. Sounds like Chopard needed a door minder. I know just the guy at the Palais.