“PARIS (AFP) [December 5, 2008] — Armed robbers pulled off one of the world’s biggest jewelry heists at a famed Paris store, making off with 80 million Euros (102 million dollars) in diamonds and valuables, investigators said Friday.

 “A gang of four thieves — two of them disguised as women — on Thursday [December 4, 2008] stole nearly all the jewels on display at the Harry Winston boutique just off the Champs-Elysees … which attracts a wealthy international clientele….”

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 Hmmm. One Hundred Two Million Dollars lifted in fifteen minutes, divided by four. A return-on-investment calculation might be unfair without knowing how many years this quartet of thieves rehearsed their performance. No, actually it’s not unfair. This is big, and I don’t care how many years they spent preparing.

 I wonder if the Harry Winston jewelry store in Paris, France was insured by AIG or some other United States insurance company celebrating our bailout money at work.

 Whose idea was it to have that much inventory out of the safe – or time-lock accessible even if it was in the safe — when all someone had to do was walk in, ask for it and walk out?

 I confess to having no clue what Harry Winston on Avenue Montaigne sells on an average December day. But I do know this: Paris is my home town; and the Avenue’s three or four extravagant blocks are the equivalent of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills or Worth Avenue in Palm Beach.

 Can you believe that this same retailer at the same location gave up 10M in jewels during a stick-up in October, 2007, according to AFP? Come on, guys: Last year was the dress rehearsal! At least our domestic auto dealers don’t need elaborate security precautions like Harry Winston to protect their showrooms.

 Seriously, though, we can only hope the professionals behind this job are not Lashkar-e-Taiba (blamed for the Mumbai massacre) or a land-based contingent of Somali pirates. A hundred million dollars is a first-rate flotilla of speed boats, and way more money than needed to acquire dirty bomb-making material in Russia.