A 57 year-old Peruvian career criminal, who has spent a total of 20 of his years behind bars, appeared in Monaco’s Criminal Court this week for sentencing after stealing jewellery valued at more than 300,000 euros from a room at the Hôtel de Paris.

It was on June 20, 2019, that the culprit gained access to the victims’ hotel room by pretending to be a maintenance worker checking on the air conditioning, local French-language daily Monaco Matin reports.

When the husband let him in he removed cash, jewellery and watches from a safe left ajar.

By the time the brazen robbery had been noticed the enterprising Peruvian had already left Monaco. However, his fingerprints led the Monaco police to identify the thief and issue an international arrest warrant.

“I recognise all of the facts. Everything is true,” he told the tribunal, adding, according to Monaco Matin: “I’ve robbed a lot of people in my life. I’ve been doing this since I was 13. I used to steal wallets from bags. I spent over 20 years in prison. This will be probably hard to believe, but I’m coming to a point where I have to change my life. I want to leave Europe, return to Peru to be with my daughter. I don’t want to lose my family, I deserve a new chance in life. I ask forgiveness from the victims,” he said, drawing a few tears from his interpreter.

The victim, a real estate specialist who had travelled from New York, was impressed. “At least he apologises,” he said. However, he accused SBM and the management of the Hôtel de Paris of gross negligence. He added that the SBM had not apologised. “I have received no apology letter since 2019 and they made me pay the hotel bill. The equivalent of a Pink Panthers walking around the hotel in full view of everyone. It should be ashamed,” he said.

At the end of the day, the repentant defendant was led from court to start a two-year sentence.

FILE PHOTO: Max Brodie