PARIS DNA traces found on plastic bands used to tie the wrists of Kim Kardashian helped French police arrest 17 suspects in connection with last October's gunpoint robbery of her jewels during a stay in Paris.
The genetic imprints of one person led to the far wider web of suspects around dawn on Monday, many of them known figures of the French underworld, a police source said.
Those arrested, including a septuagenarian investigators believe was at the scene, are being questioned at the Quai des Orfevres police headquarters on the banks of the Seine river in Paris since yesterday morning's dawn swoops in Rouen, Grasse in southeast France, and the greater Paris area.
Among them is the driver used to ferry Kardashian around for Fashion Show week in the French capital, when the robbers broke into her luxury apartment and tied her up at gunpoint before making off with their haul, some of them on bicycles.
The robbery of jewels worth an estimated 9 million euros has led police to people including a man of 72 or 73 years old in Grasse, a village in the hills behind the southern French Riviera coast, the police source said.
Kardashian was badly shaken but physically unharmed in the heist.
She has mostly since kept a low public profile but broke her silence on the robbery in a promotional clip for the upcoming season of her reality TV show "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," which was released on Friday.
"They're going to shoot me in the back. There's no way out," a tearful Kardashian tells her family, recalling the robbery. "It makes me so upset to think about it."
The robbery made world headlines and unwanted publicity for one of the world's most visited cities, where hotels and the wider tourist sector have struggled to make a comeback commercially after deadly attacks by Islamist militants in 2015.
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(Reporting by Gerard Bon; Writing by Brian Love; Editing by Bate Felix and Andrew Callus)