They came and left on bicycles.
It’s clever to be a criminal on a bicycle in Paris. There is no registration or easy identification. Bicycles can get lost in the back streets, where there are no CCTV cameras. They are silent, fast enough, and above all, utterly inconspicuous.
It was just after one o’clock on the morning of October 3, 2016 when the Night Guard at Hôtel de Pourtalès opened the door to three men who he thought were police. Soon, there was a pistol at his back and handcuffs on his wrists. The three men who had arrived on bicyles wanted money. “Is Kanye West here?”
In the hotel’s penthouse – the ‘Sky Penthouse’, which attracts a rate of more than $16,000 per night – reality TV star Kim Kardashian was alone in her bedroom, wearing only her bathrobe, after a day at Paris Fashion Week. Her best friend Simone Harouche was in a downstairs bedroom and her bodyguard, Pascal Duvier, was with her sister Kourtney and their half-sister Kendall Jenner at a nightclub, L’Arc Paris.
When the thieves burst through the door they grabbed Kim by her ankles and dragged her off the bed. “Don’t kill me, I have babies, don’t kill me, please, I have babies! I’m a mum! Take whatever you want,” the 36-year-old mother of two reportedly screamed.
They bound her feet and hands. They carried her to the bathroom. They wrapped tape around her mouth and head to stop her screaming.
For the first time since the attack, Kim has spoken about her experience on the latest episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians.
What does Kim’s horrific robbery mean for the family’s reality TV show? Post continues below.
She said she was certain she was going to be raped. “He grabs my legs and I had no clothes on under [my robe],” she said on the show.
“He pulls me towards him at like the front of the bed and I thought, ‘OK, this is the moment you’re going to rape me’. I fully mentally prepped myself… and he didn’t.”
Even more heartbreaking was the certainty Kim had of her imminent death. In that certainty, she was most worried about her sister, Kourtney, who she knew would be the one to find her body.
“They had the gun up to me and I just knew that was the moment that they were just totally going to shoot me in the head,” Kim said.
“I just prayed that Kourtney’s going to have a normal life after she sees my dead body on the bed.”
The thieves left when Kim’s phone lit up with a phone call from Duvier. “I told [the thieves], ‘You know who is ringing now? It is her bodyguard. If she doesn’t answer, he will come with police’,” the night watchman, who was in the apartment held at gunpoint, told Vanity Fair.
They left on their bicycles with a 20-carat diamond ring, and a jewellery box containing 12 other items. Those 12 items are estimated to be worth $5.6 million.
The TV star is convinced the criminals had been following her on social media. She stopped posting to Instagram for a month after the attack and the content of her photographs since the incident has changed. There are fewer diamonds and teeth grills and fur coats. She's toned down the glamour that made her famous, after it so nearly killed her.
"I was Snapchatting that I was home and that everyone was going out," Kim said. "So I think they knew Pascal [Duvier] was out with Kourtney and that I was there by myself. They had this window of opportunity and just went for it."
In January this year, 17 people were detained and questioned by police in relation to the robbery. A handful were charged. There are rumours the criminals-on-bicycles was an inside job.
One thing is for certain: Kim Kardashian will never be the same. For all her fame and fortune and jewellery-boxes-worth-$5-million, the moment in which she was forced to imagine her sister discovering her dead body in a white bathrobe, made her just as human, just as vulnerable, as you and I.