One of the thieves who robbed Kim Kardashian at gunpoint claims he did not know who she was at the time of the heist.
Dubbed a “Grandpa robber”, Yunice Abbas made the surprising admission while promoting his new book about the 2016 crime, titled J’ai Séquestré Kim Kardashian or I Kidnapped Kim Kardashian.
In an interview with French weekly magazine Paris Match, the 67-year-old said he only found out she was a celebrity when watching the news the following day.
“I put my head down. My wife straight away accused me: ‘You did it.’ I hadn’t come back that night and she knew something was up. I denied it,” he told the outlet. “My mate … who put me on the job, had simply told me the victim was the wife of a famous rapper. I didn’t want to know more at that stage.”
The memoir recounts the night Abbas and another 11 armed men stormed into Kardashian’s Paris apartment, tied her up with plastic cables and fled the scene with US$10.8 million (approx. $14 million) worth of jewellery — including the 20-carat engagement ring given by husband Kanye West, which reportedly cost US$4 million (approx. $5.2 million).
The reality star was in the city attending Paris Fashion Week with her sisters and was alone in the apartment at the time.
“I was under no illusions. I understood we’d be caught,” Abbas said. “There was too much pressure, we weren’t prepared enough. We didn’t know it would make this much noise.”
Detailing the robbery, Abbas — who said he needed money at the time — claimed the gang were given a tip-off from a member of Kardashian’s entourage before they appeared at her apartment at 2.30am on October 3, 2016.
“It went fast, maybe five, six, seven minutes, from entry to exit, because everything went smoothly,” he said of the heist. “Nobody interfered, the victim handed over the jewels without resistance.”
The men were arrested by police three months later and Abbas served 22 months behind bars before he was released on health grounds. Abbas — who spent 21 years of his life in and out of jail — is now awaiting trial for the robbery of the reality star, but hopes a judge will be lenient given his recent heart surgery and his remorse over what happened.
“I regret what I did and not because I was caught!” he said. “For victims, it’s always violent even if we thought we were being gentle.”
The scars have certainly remained for Kardashian. In a later episode of her reality show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, the star cried to her sisters as she recalled the terrifying incident.
“They ask for money. I said I don’t have any money. They dragged me out on to the hallway on top of the stairs. That’s when I saw the gun clear, like clear as day. I was kind of looking at the gun, looking down back at the stairs,” she said.
“I was like; ‘I have a split second in my mind to make this quick decision.’ Am I going to run down the stairs and either be shot in the back? It makes me so upset to think about it. Either they’re going to shoot me in the back, or if I make it and they don’t, if the elevator does not open in time, or the stairs are locked, then like I’m f–ed. There’s no way out.”
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