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Heir to Louis Vuitton burgled in Paris



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The Paris home of an heir of the Louis Vuitton luxury empire was burgled at the weekend, sources close to the case said Monday, with thieves taking high-end watches, jewelry and bags. Benoit-Louis Vuitton, a sixth generation descendant of the fashion house's founder, lives in the swanky seventh district of the capital near the Invalides military museum.

The exact value of the pieces taken was still being evaluated, but they are worth at least several hundreds of thousands of euros (dollars), the sources said. An investigation is underway, the Paris prosecutors' office said, with the capital's anti-gang unit handling the case.

The Actu17 website, which first broke the news, put the value of the bounty at several million euros. The burglary happened overnight Sunday to Monday, when the apartment was empty, it said, adding that some of the bags taken were "hugely valuable prototypes".

Louis Vuitton, who founded his namesake luxury house in 1854 by making trunks, died aged 70 in 1892. In 1987, the company merged with champagne maker Moet et Chandon and cognac brand Hennessy to create LVMH, which is now the world's biggest luxury company, grouping 75 brands and employing 175,000 people.

Louis Vuitton bags, with the famous "LV" monogram, are among the world's most prestigious fashion items and often copied by counterfeiters. Last week, fake Louis Vuitton bags were among nearly one million euros' worth of knock-offs police found in a raid on a clandestine outlet near Paris. In September, a group of armed robbers stole 300 Louis Vuitton bags from a sub-contractor working for the company, with their retail value estimated at several hundreds of thousands of euros.(AFP)

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