PARIS – Two dramatically different worlds have collided in a comic that reveals new details of one of the most renowned heists in recent times: the theft of American reality star Kim Kardashian’s jewels in 2016, one of its authors told EFE on Friday.
A pair of French journalists, François Vignolle and Julien Dumond, have published the illustrated novel drawing from police records and investigations into the high-profile crime that took place in an apartment in Paris’ upmarket 8th arrondissement on Oct 3, 2016.
“We did some investigative work,” Vignolle told Efe Friday.
“We explored the routes the thieves and Kardashian took, we went to the places where they were, spoke to sources and took photos of the spots so that the story would be as real as possible,” he added.
“Kardashian’s Jewels” also features illustrations by Gregory Mardon, who has created an entertaining visual reconstruction of events.
The crime, Vignolle continued, put into perspective the hierarchy that exists within the media when it comes to prioritizing one piece of information over another.
“We no longer were talking about the terrorist attacks in France or Donald Trump in the United States,” the journalist said, adding, “everyone wanted to know about the Kim Kardashian theft.”
The duo managed to get their hands on a piece of footage which proved that a so-called “Grandad Gang,” clad in yellow high visibility vests (an unlikely precursor to the movement that gripped France two years later) and traveling on bicycles, were the burglars behind the theft of a collection of jewels worth some $10 million.
The comic strip visually presents the two contrasting worlds the main characters frequent with vastly different aesthetics.
The brains behind the heist inhabit a somber and dark world, featured early on in the book, and anchored in the suburbs they live in and the prison cells they frequented.
“The Old Man” (the alleged mastermind of the operation), “Scraped Nose,” “Blue Eyes” and “Palpitant “ (the only fictitious nickname which translates as “Throbbing”) were elderly gangsters aged between 50 and 73 who, according to Vignolle, planned the theft as their last big heist before retirement.
The gangsters didn’t even know who Kardashian was.
The veteran criminals broke into the celebrity’s flat where she was staying during Paris fashion week, tied her up and at gunpoint yelled at her to hand over her “RING!,” the only word the mob knew how to say in English.
They managed to get the influencer to hand over all of her jewelry and among the spoils was the famous ring valued at some $4 million that her husband, American rapper Kanye West, had given her.
“Our aim isn’t to ridicule Kim Kardashian. Quite the opposite, we understand the bad moments she experienced,” Vignolle said.
The gang fled from the scene on their bicycles before the police reached the crime scene and it became one the most talked-about robberies to take place in France in the last two decades.
Kardashian left France in a state of shock to be reunited with her family, after which she took a break from social media for three months.
It took French authorities the same amount of time to jail the members of the gang following an investigation.
“We were able to read the entire police investigation notes in order to make faithful illustrations, adding some new details,” the author told Efe.
“But we also met some of the characters to add atmosphere and depth which doesn’t necessarily feature in the police reports” Vignolle added.
The comic is divided into five chapters and the book revisits how the police, who were under a lot of pressure to get results, worked and managed to locate “The Old Man” and his gang using wiretaps.
The fate of this gang of thieves will be decided at their trial, scheduled for 2020, which will fuel a sequel to the comic.