Jewel thief escapes ‘mind-boggling heist’ because Jean-Claude Van Damme was nearby
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Jean-Claude Van Damme appears to have accidentally and unwittingly aided a pair of criminals by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Belgian actor and martial artist was visiting an optician in Paris on Tuesday evening when, almost certainly unbeknownst to the “Street Fighter” actor, two suspects heisted approximately $3.5 million in gems from a nearby jeweler, The Guardian reported.
Many potential witnesses to what a police officer described to newspaper Le Parisien as a “monumental haul” were distracted by the 60-year-old filmmaker and totally missed the crime.
While patrons at a cafe close to the scene of the crime were possibly in both ear- and eyeshot of the robbery, Van Damme’s presence proved the more interesting event of the moment. Would-be witnesses reported noting the actor going lens shopping, but neither hearing nor seeing any criminal activity.
Even without all the prospective witnesses, however, French police managed to arrest two suspects Wednesday morning and recover a “substantial part” of the stolen property.
While the culprits were not seen by the many entertainer-distracted human eyes, CCTV footage captured the purported thief arriving and leaving the store with a white bag full of gemstones. The gray-haired, suited man made his escape on a green scooter that he had parked outside the shop while he looted it.
While in the store, staff told police that the thief had impersonated a customer and requested to see a number of pricey treasures before pulling a knife out. No one was harmed.
The two arrested suspects are in their mid-50s and mid-40s, The Guardian reported.
This is not the first time the shop, Chaumet, has been targeted in recent years: The 241-year-old brand’s flagship shop was also robbed in 2009.
The area’s mayor, Jeanne d’Hauteserre, lambasted the crime for being “mind-boggling, daring, unprecedented and regrettable.”
Jean-Claude Van Damme did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.
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