Nadal's 300,000-euro watch found near railway line after hotel thief confesses
A watch worth 300,000 euros which was on loan to tennis star Rafael Nadal, has been found by a railway track in the Paris suburbs. It was stolen from Nadal’s hotel room during the Roland Garros French Open and the alleged thief was arrested on Tuesday.
The watch, one of a limited edition of 50 leant to him during the tournament by publicity-seeking watchmaker Richard Mille, was hidden between the permanent way and some wild poppies off the RER D suburban railway line at Corbeil-Essonnes, south of Paris, according to police.
They had been led to the hiding place by the man who has been charged with the theft, a 39-year-old barman at the Menia Royal Alma hotel where Nadal stayed during the tournament.
The man, who was already known to police in connection to cases involving theft, receiving stolen goods and insulting police officers, is reported to have confessed. He was traced via his hotel access badge, which was used to enter the suite where Nadal stayed with his parents.
His booty would have been difficult to sell, given that it was numbered and one of a very small number of identical timepieces.
Speaking at a tournament in Halle, Germany, Nadal praised police for cracking the case.
"The French police have done good work," he said, adding he was "very happy" the watch had been found.
And promised to return to the hotel, where he usually stays when in Paris, despite the incident.
"I cannot say anything wrong about the hotel,” he declared. “They were great for me every time I was there, for the last, I think, eight years. I'll be back in the hotel next year."