French police are continuing their investigation of the November 21 robbery of two private jet passengers en route to the center of Paris from Le Bourget Airport. Two women from Qatar and the driver of their limousine were attacked with tear gas after their car was forced to stop on the A1 highway at around 9:30 p.m. Property worth an estimated $5.3 million was stolen.
The victims’ aircraft was handled by the Jetex FBO at Le Bourget. A spokesperson for the Dubai-based flight support group told AIN that the company was not asked to arrange ground transportation and was not informed about the passengers’ destination after leaving the FBO. The public prosecutor’s office confirmed that police have questioned Jetex employees in Paris.
According to a source close to Paris’s BRB serious crime squad, investigators are trying to discover if the robbers could have had inside information about the travel plans of the victims. A manager with another Le Bourget FBO, speaking to AIN on condition of anonymity, said that multiple service providers—including hotels and limousine companies—commonly have access to passengers’ travel plans. He stated that FBOs at the Paris airport have implemented a security measure that requires limousine drivers to produce paperwork confirming that they are booked to transport passengers associated with a specific aircraft and flight.
Paris authorities are increasingly concerned about a spate of violent robberies, including several committed on the A1 highway. In October, Philippe Ginestet, chief executive of French company Gifi, was robbed of more than $100,000 worth of valuables while traveling in a taxi from the center of Paris to Le Bourget. Other robberies on the A1 included a Taiwanese art collector in April 2015 who had $5 million worth of jewels stolen from a taxi while traveling from Charles de Gaulle Airport. In August 2014, a Saudi prince was attacked in the same area.
Paris police seem convinced that the attackers are carefully targeting specific wealthy individuals. Authorities have said they will increase the use of surveillance cameras in specific areas, including the A1 highway.
The November 21 attack involved two sisters aged 60 and 61 who were heading to their hotel in the high-end 16th arrondissement of Paris. The attackers used a black Peugeot 406 car with tinted windows.
Paris airport company Groupe ADP, which controls Le Bourget, CDG and Orly Airports, has acknowledged that the crime wave has damaged the image and reputation of the French capital.