French police arrested 17 people on Monday in connection with the October theft of more than $10 million worth of jewellery from Kim Kardashian West, finding weapons and a large amount of cash during multiple raids.
Paris police officials said the arrests took place starting around 6 am in different locations in the Paris region and the south of France. The suspects, ages 23 to 72, were already known for prior robberies and other crimes, according to one official.
Multiple firearms, including an automatic pistol, and 140,000 euros ($147,500) in cash were found during the raids, the official said.
The police sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak publicly about the continuing investigation.
The Paris prosecutors' office confirmed the 17 arrests, but declined to say whether the five people that police have said took part in the actual robbery, including two who forced their way into Kardashian West's rented apartment, were among those taken into custody.
Jean Veil, the French lawyer for Kardashian West, said the news of arrests is "a great satisfaction."
These arrests are a nice surprise because we might be able to find the jewels.Jean Veil to French magazine L’Express
He said his client could be interviewed again by investigators and might have to face the suspects.
On 3 October, robbers forced their way into the private Paris residence where Kardashian West was staying, tied her up, held her at gunpoint and then locked her in a bathroom before making off with her jewellery. The reality TV star was in Paris attending fashion week shows.
Media reports said police tracked down the suspects through DNA evidence found at the apartment. One official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said many were already known for robbery and other crimes.
Earlier this month, the starlet broke her silence on the robbery in a teaser for the family's reality show, telling two of her sisters her thoughts at the time:
They’re going to shoot me in the back. There’s no way out.
Police said the thieves stole a jewellery box containing valuables worth 6 million euros ($6.7 million) as well as a ring worth 4 million euros ($4.5 million).
Police analysed footage from surveillance cameras to try to identify the assailants, who wore fake police emblems on their jackets.
At the time, a spokeswoman for Kardashian West said she was badly shaken, but physically unharmed. The robbery raised new concerns about security in the French capital after a string of deadly extremist attacks.
Kardashian West has the habit of showing her jewels and whereabouts in her social media, including days before the robbery when she posted pictures of herself attending fashion week shows.
Paris has been a special place for Kardashian West and her husband, who spent the weekend there before marrying in Florence in May 2014.