A company owned by South African billionaire Johann Rupert was hit by jewelry thieves on Friday night.
According to a report by South Africa’s Sunday Times, an estimated $19.5 million worth of watches, diamond necklaces and earrings were stolen by the thieves at a warehouse in Rivonia, Johannesburg, after they allegedly overpowered and tied up the security guards before breaking into the vault. The warehouse is owned by RLG Africa, a Richemont subsidiary, which operates the storage facility under the company name, Vendome Distribution SA.
The stolen luxury goods were reportedly headed for shops in Sandton under the distribution arm of the Rupert family’s luxury goods company Richemont, which owns Cartier and Montblanc, among other brands. South African investigators are currently trying to understand why the CCTV cameras were not working during the heist and how the guards could have been so easily overpowered. A case of business robbery has now been opened and the South Africa police are searching for the suspects.
Johann Rupert, 69, is the chairman of Swiss luxury goods firm Compagnie Financiere Richemont. The company is best known for the brands Cartier and Montblanc. It was formed in 1998 through a spinoff of assets owned by Rembrandt Group Limited (now Remgro Limited), which his father Anton formed in the 1940s. He has a net worth FORBES estimates at $6.2 billion.