Versace treasures found in a ratty recliner

Detectives on the trail of $3,7-million in stolen Versace jewellery thought they had a break in the case when they got a warrant to search a Manhattan storage room - only to find a cheap, ratty green recliner.

Why would someone pay around $50 a month to store a chair worth about $10, detectives wondered. They opened the chair’s upholstery and found the answer: a fortune in glittering gems nestled carefully into the foam seat padding and then sewn back into the chair.

“It was like finding pirate treasure,” police Assistant Chief Thomas Fahey said on Tuesday. “This is a very significant jewellery robbery.”

Before being returned to its rightful home - the Versace boutique on Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan - the jewellery was displayed on Tuesday at a police news conference.

Police asked for the public’s help in tracking down the suspected thief, the store’s former head of security, William Robinson.

Robinson (33) allegedly opened the store’s safe that evening and walked out with the jewellery.

The theft was discovered the following morning by other employees, who noticed that all the shop’s surveillance tapes also had been removed.

Detectives working on the case said they eventually learned Robinson had rented a storage unit in lower Manhattan under his own name - leading to the discovery of the chair and the jewellery. - Sapa-AP

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