By Leigh Thomas
PARIS, Oct 3 – Masked men put a gun to reality TV star Kim Kardashian’s head, left her tied up in the bathroom of her luxury residence in Paris and stole millions of dollars’ worth of jewelry in the early hours of Monday, police and her publicist said.
Kardashian, who her publicist said was “badly shaken but physically unharmed,” spoke to investigators and then left France aboard a private jet. It was not immediately known where Kardashian, whose home is outside Los Angeles, was headed.
Five attackers, wearing ski masks and clothes with police markings, struck around 3 a.m. (0100 GMT) inside the exclusive apartment block where Kardashian, 35, was staying while attending Paris Fashion Week, a police source told Reuters.
Two of the men entered Kardashian’s apartment after threatening the night guard with a hand gun. Kardashian, who has two young children with husband-rapper Kanye West, was not beaten but the robbers put a handgun against her temple before tying her up, the source said. iTELE television said she had been tied up with packing tape.
E! News, whose U.S. network broadcasts the “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” television show, on Monday quoted a source close to Kardashian as saying she feared for her life.
“She begged for them to let her live and (said) she has babies at home… She thought they were for sure going to kill her,” the unidentified source told E! News.
The robbers stole a box with 5 million to 6 million euros’ ($5.6 million to $6.7 million) worth of jewels and a ring worth about 4 million euros ($4.5 million), the Paris police source said.
As news of the robbery spread, West abruptly ended a performance in New York less than an hour into his set on Sunday night.
“I’m sorry I have a family emergency, I have to stop the show,” West told the audience in video tweeted by fans.
SOCIAL MEDIA DIVIDED
The Paris apartment block is a discreet building behind the city’s Madeleine church, with several secret entrances, often frequented by movie and music stars who pay up to 15,000 euros ($16,800) a night.
The source said the attackers fled on bicycles. Police found the night guard in the staircase, his hand and feet bound.
Kardashian was in Paris with her mother, Kris Jenner, and sisters Kendall Jenner and Kourtney Kardashian to attend the fashion week. The rest of the family stayed in a hotel.
The robbery set social media alight, with some users making fun of the latest headline-grabbing event in the life of a TV star who documents her life continually on screen and on social media.
“Looking forward to accompanying album and TV show detailing event,” said Twitter user Jay.
Most comments, however, were supportive. James Corden, the host of U.S. talk show “The Late Late Show,” said on Twitter, “People making jokes about @KimKardashian tonight would do well to remember that she’s a mother, a daughter, a wife, a friend. Be nice or shut up.”
Paris has seen several armed robberies on high-end jewelry stores in recent months and the Kardashian incident could add to worries about safety in Paris, hit by a series of attacks by Islamist militants last year.
Paris traditionally is the most visited city in the world but tourist numbers fell 6.4 percent in the first half of 2016 as many Asians and Americans stayed away.
“We worry about the image of Paris. This will be all over the news channels, imagine the negative publicity,” Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, head of the conservative opposition in Paris, told Europe 1 radio.