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PARIS — Masked robbers stole an estimated $19 million worth of jewelry during an armed heist of a Cartier boutique in the French Riviera city of Cannes, a police spokesman told NBC News on Thursday.

The theft, which took less than four minutes, came a week before the Cannes Film Festival.

Four robbers arrived at the Cartier store on the famous Croisette promenade late Monday morning, the spokesman said. Three entered the building and took several matching sets of jewelry, including bracelets and necklaces, while the fourth waited in a getaway car, he added.

Police were analyzing security footage.

Jewelers and designers use the film festival as a showcase, loaning high-value pieces to actors and models to show off on the red carpet.

A spate of jewelry heists marred the festival two years ago. A diamond necklace worth $2.6 million disappeared during a celebrity party, and $1.4 million worth of gems were stolen from a hotel safe.

A journalist works in front of the Cartier jewellery shop on the Croisette in Cannes, French Riviera, on May 5, 2015, after the hold up by four armed men who fled with a large amount of jewelry. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty ImagesVALERY HACHE / AFP - Getty Images
— Nancy Ing and Alexander Smith

Alexander Smith reported from London.