The convoy had been traveling from the Saudi embassy in Paris to Le Bourget airport when it was attacked near to Porte de la Chappelle. Police have confirmed that the thieves escaped with 250,000 euros in cash and what have been described as “sensitive” documents.
According to reports, a gang of between five and eight thieves targeted the first vehicle in a convoy of ten. They emerged from two BMWs wielding Kalashnikovs, forcing the driver of a Mercedes mini-van to stop before driving off with him and two other occupants inside, before later releasing them.
The Saudi vehicle and one BMW were found burned out and abandoned in the village of Saint-Mesmes, 40km north-east of Paris.
Saudi Prince’s convoy attacked: Highly informed and professional heist
Police union spokesman Rocco Contento informed journalists that no shots were fired in an attack that lasted just a few seconds, a fact which led him to speculate that the the thieves were part of “a very organised and especially informed commando unit, who had information and accomplices”.
“As far as I am concerned, it looks very much like it could be commandos from eastern Europe, who we know about, who are often paid to do dirty work”, he continued.
Le Bourget airport handles high-profile visitors using private jets to visit the French capital, and the unnamed prince was traveling with sensitive paperwork, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Saudi prince convoy: A simple armed robbery or something more sinister?
The BRB special police unit in charge of armed robberies will be investigating the heist, and a source stated that “if they were looking for sensitive documents, that changes the nature of the crime. It will no longer be an armed robbery, but something more complicated.”
The Saudi Prince has not been named by the authorities, limiting speculation as to the motivation of the gang. It is likely that the Saudi authorities will do their utmost to keep details to a minimum, but the successful theft of the documents could have important ramifications.