Eight people have been sentenced in France for the burglaries of several high-profile celebrities.
The homes of numerous prominent people, including two international footballers, were targeted by the group in a series of seven burglaries in 2018 and 2019.
The victims of the thefts included Paris Saint-Germain players Thiago Silva and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.
Television host Patrick Sébastien, rapper Booba, chef Jean-Pierre Vigato, a Saudi businessman, and a law firm were also targeted.
Seven men and one woman, aged between 27 and 31, were convicted at a Paris court on Wednesday for taking part in the burglaries or receiving stolen goods.
They received jail terms ranging from a suspended sentence to six years in prison.
The court heard how the group broke into their victims’ homes while they were away, through windows or bay windows, using gutters and cornices.
The gang stole jewellery, watches, and luxury leather goods, totalling an estimated €4.2 million.
The longest sentence was given to two men; Mohamed S. — allegedly known as “The Cat” for his agility — and Abdelazim G. Both received six years’ imprisonment and a €20,000 fine.
The court in Paris found the men guilty of “theft in a group” and “criminal association” while acknowledging their “complicated” life stories.
Mohamed S. was also convicted of “possession of a weapon” after a pistol was found in his car.
Five other men were given sentences ranging from 1 to 4 years imprisonment and fines of €5,000 to €15,000 for their role in the burglaries.
A young woman also received an 18-month suspended sentence and a fine of €1,000 euros for “handling stolen goods” and “possession of a weapon”.
When searching the woman’s home, police found a handgun, as well as handwritten notes with the names and addresses of other celebrities.
These were said to include television presenters, Laurent Ruquier and Thierry Ardisson, as well as French sports commentator Pierre Menès.
The seven men all had previous criminal records ranging from nine to thirty convictions. At the trial, the group had claimed that they had only made tens of thousands of euros from the resale of the stolen items, which they spent on cars, trips, and nightclubs.
The criminals will also have to pay €4,000 in moral damages and legal costs to the unnamed Saudi businessman, who has filed a civil lawsuit.
Original posted at www.euronews.com