What You Don't Know About The Kim K Robbery Suspects

French police detained 17 people for questioning on Jan. 8, 2016 in connection with the armed robbery of reality star Kim Kardashian during Fashion Week in Paris in October 2016, reported CNN. As the investigation intensifies, what have we learned about these brash bandits?

Let's review the crime: in the early morning hours on Oct. 3, 2016, five men dressed like police officers with masks burst into the lobby at the Hôtel de Pourtalès (commonly known as the "No-Name Hotel") and forced the night manager to unlock the door of Kardashian's penthouse residence. At gunpoint, the attackers reportedly tied up and gagged Kardashian and dumped her in a bathroom, before fleeing with cash and jewelry worth about $10 million, including her 20-carat diamond engagement ring. According to Agence France-Presse, the heist was "the biggest [jewelry] theft from an individual that France has seen in more than 20 years."

While some news outlets opined that Kardashian exaggerated or fabricated the crime for publicity, French police took the investigation seriously and have pieced together a fascinating description of the alleged suspects. Take a look.

The thieves made Kardashian fear for her life

The night manager at the Hôtel de Pourtalès, who's been identified only by his first name, Abdulrahman, shared his harrowing account of the robbery with the press. He told the Daily Mail "that he pleaded with the robbers not to harm Kim, but admitted that he let them into her luxury Parisian apartment and even acted as the gang's interpreter."

One culprit reportedly stayed with the manager while another dragged Kardashian out of bed. "He attacked her, holding his gun in her face," Abdulrahman told the Mail. "She was crying, she was screaming, saying, 'Don't kill me, I have babies, don't kill me, please, I have babies! I'm a mom! Take whatever you want!' She was wearing a white bathrobe and her hair was tied up." Abdulrahman claimed one of the bandits told him, "Don't worry, we are here for money." As Kardashian screamed, "One of the gang kept telling her to shut up," Abdulrahman said. "I put my hand on her shoulder and told her to be calm. I said, 'You have to be silent, you know?' She sat down on the bed. She asked me, 'Are we going to die?' I said, 'I don't know, how can I know?'"

Kardashian kept an uncharacteristically low profile following the robbery, finally breaking her silence in January 2017 via an emotional interview clip promoting her reality show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. In the clip, she says she feared the robbers were "going to shoot me in the back," adding, "It makes me so upset to think about it." The corresponding season of KUWTK is scheduled to debut in March 2017 on E!.

Paris police pull out all the stops

The culprits who orchestrated this heist have an experienced team of investigators hot on their trail. Paris Police Chief Christian Sainte also co-led the high-stakes probe following the November 2015 terrorist attacks that killed 130 people at a concert hall, a stadium, and other locations around the city. Also on the case: the Brigade de Repression du Banditisme (Suppression of Banditry Brigade), an elite unit of 100 plain-clothed officers who specialize in armed robbery and organized crime. In addition to Kardashian's star status and the value of the stolen loot, the city's reputation is on the line. "It's important because of the implication: Is Paris secure? It's important economically," Sainte told Vanity Fair. "So that's another reason why it is important for us to solve this case." According to The Daily Caller, the city's economy lost nearly $1 billion in revenue during the first six months of 2016 alone, compared with the first half of 2015.

To catch a thief or two or three...

French authorities are using traditional and modern methods to identify suspects and track them down. In addition to fingerprints found on ties used to bind Kardashian, police reportedly collected several DNA samples from the crime scene. According to The Telegraph, authorities also retrieved DNA from a platinum and diamond cross pendant apparently dropped outside the residence. TMZ said that bauble, crafted by Jacob and Co., is worth about $33,000. In addition, surveillance video from nearby businesses reportedly caught glimpses of the bandits, and some suspects' locations were triangulated by police using activity from their mobile phones.

A source close to the investigation told the Mirror: "The CCTV is of very poor quality, but body shapes can still be matched up. The telephone evidence is strong, as is the DNA. When faced with this kind of evidence it is very hard for suspects to say they were not present."

Bicycles used as getaway vehicles

Video from the side-street surveillance cameras of a neighborhood business reportedly picked up the alleged robbers' high-speed getaway, um, bicycles? That's right. According to French news outlet M6 Info, the footage shows five men—three on bicycles—approaching the hotel and, later, heading in the opposite direction. While the bikers' faces are not identifiable from the images, Entertainment Weekly said the timing fits the timeline of the crime. In the screenshot above, note the satchel slung over the handlebars. It may have been used to haul away the stolen goods.

Why bicycles? A feature story in Vanity Fair explained that bikes are the preferred mode of travel for many Parisians, and for criminals traversing back streets where CCTV cameras are sparse, two wheels are ideal. "Best of all, bicycles are virtually untraceable—no license plate or registration, most of them looking alike—and are easily hidden or destroyed," the magazine said. While authorities have said this was the first major crime to rely on bicycles, it may not be the last, considering crime trends in Paris.

'Home-jacking' is très hot

Even for seasoned criminals, it has reportedly become harder and harder in recent years to steal from traditional institutions. "Banks have become impenetrable, much of their cash now dispensed by wire. Brinks-style armored-truck raids, once the rage, have been rendered technically impossible—the trucks are now extremely well protected, and those with the knowledge to rob them are mostly in prison for past offenses," reported Vanity Fair. A more popular method for today's criminal is "home-jacking," robbing the rich in their residences. Though it's not a new concept, veteran crime reporter Frédéric Ploquin told Vanity Fair it's on the rise thanks to "a new type of gangster." The thugs are "smart, clever, and they know how to follow someone on the Internet. They can also use violence, sometimes even when it's not necessary." Kardashian's social media activity may have marked her as an easy target.

Police question brothers working as limo drivers

Two drivers hired by the Kardashian family for Fashion Week were among those detained and questioned by French police, according to the Associated Press. Michael Madar, 40, and his brother, Gary Madar, 27, reportedly worked for the Unic Worldpass livery service and were questioned about their knowledge of Kardashian's schedule and security status the night of the attack. According to Us Weekly, Michael was questioned and released, but Gary was reportedly charged with tipping off the thieves about Kardashian's whereabouts. The company insisted its employees had no untoward connection to the heist and were taken into custody "for testimony purposes" only.

'Grandad Gangsters'

The suspects in this case are no spring chickens, prompting French press to refer to the group as the "Grandad gangsters." The oldest suspect, a 72-year-old man known as "Pierre B," is reportedly a convicted cocaine dealer with connections to criminal gangs in southern France. (The villa where he was arrested is pictured above.) His longtime companion, a woman named "Christiane," was also rounded up as part of coordinated raids across the country. Sixty-year-old suspect "Old Omar" le Vieux was identified by fingerprints left on plastic ties used to bind Kardashian's hands, and a 63-year-old fellow known as "Yunice A" was accused of wielding the gun used to rob Kardashian. Also among those detained was a 64-year-old gypsy named Marceau B who, according to the Daily Mail, was accused but acquitted of selling forged Euro notes and stolen jewelry in 2014. Another suspect who has served time, a man identified as Nez Râpé, or "Broken Nose," was allegedly part of a gang that posed as police to pull over and rob jewelry from the drivers of luxury cars, reported the Daily Mail. And let's not forget Didier "Blue Eyes" Dubreucq, a convicted drug runner who served time "for his role in a high-profile drug smuggling case involving Prince Nayef Bin Fawaz al-Shaalan, a grandson of Saudi Arabia's founding monarch, Abdulaziz," according to The Telegraph.

Of the 17 people rounded up for questioning, four were charged on Jan. 12, 2016 by French prosecutors. According to Agence France-Presse, Yunice A. was "charged with robbing Kardashian at gunpoint and leaving her bound and gagged;" Marceau B. was "charged with helping to pass off some of the stolen jewellery;" Gary (the aforementioned chauffeur) and a 44-year-old referred to as Florus H. were charged with "aiding and abetting the theft." At the time of this writing, seven suspects had been released, and two additional suspects were spotted in Belgium but remained at large.

Her engagement ring is likely long gone

Following the initial arrests, reports suggested Kardashian could potentially recover the expensive centerpiece of the heist because at least one of the suspects may have knowledge of the jewel's whereabouts. However, according to TMZ, Kardashian will likely never see her $4 million emerald-cut engagement ring again. "The cops say most diamonds the size of Kim's are immediately shipped off to Antwerp's diamond district in Belgium and then quickly disappear," TMZ reported. At the time of this writing, there's been no sign of the massive rock that Lorraine Schwartz designed for rapper Kanye West's bride.

The bling was insured and can be replaced, yet insiders told People Kardashian wants to move on. "Kanye wants to buy her the ring again but she just says she doesn't want to think about it," a source said.

Was Kardashian an easy target?

Kardashian has long been a favorite among fans and paparazzi, in part, because she's been so prolific online, making her glamorous comings and goings easy to track on social media. Fashion Week in Paris was no exception. The day after her arrival in the City of Light, she posted a come-hither selfie showcasing her cleavage, a gold grill, and that 20-carat diamond ring. She was trailed incessantly by cameras, leading some to speculate that the bandits may have conducted reconnaissance by mingling among the throngs of press. Photographers told People they noticed some unusual faces among the familiar gaggle of paps. "There were these two guys," said one source. "One was in a car and the other on a scooter. They were French, and they were just strange." Another paparazzo said, "We know each other. We know the bodyguards, they know us. These guys weren't photographers, weren't fans."

According to Vanity Fair, it was no secret Kardashian was staying at the exclusive Hôtel de Pourtalès guest house, a preferred spot for numerous celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Prince. "More a home than a hotel, it was apparently a prime target for a home-jacking, with lax security, no CCTV cameras—so that guests could come and go in privacy—and a code on the entrance door that, an employee would say, 'is known by all,' because it had allegedly not been changed in six years," reported the magazine.

It would be blaming the victim to connect Kardashian's behavior with the subtext, "I'm here in France. Please come rob me," but Kardashian reportedly did do some soul searching after the attack. A source told People, "Kim's in shock and blaming herself. She's tearing herself up that she Snapchatted the ring so much and wore it all the time. This incident is making her question everything. How she dresses, what she does." Her sister, Khloe Kardashian, told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, "I think it's just a wake up call to make a lot of life adjustments. This is a really serious matter for Kim."

Following the attack, Kim practically disappeared from social media for months, but she did ring in the new year with a tender home video montage of her family posted to her app and a highly anticipated selfie with her mom via Snapchat.