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‘Sensitive’ Security Plans for Paris Olympics Stolen in Bag Swipe on Train TIME

Passengers disembark an Inoui train at Gare du Nord train station in Paris, on Feb. 15, 2024.

While petty thefts are not uncommon on public transport in Paris, it would seem far-fetched that a bag robbery could upend a major international sporting event. But France now faces that very circumstance, after a bag was reportedly stolen on a train in the nation’s capital on Monday that contained security plans for the Paris Olympics that’s just months away.

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Broadcast network BFMTV reported that a 56-year-old engineer working in the Paris City Hall reported to police that his bag had been stolen after he had just boarded a train leaving for Creil from the Gare du Nord station in Paris, around 6:30 p.m. local time, Monday evening. 

In his report to police, the engineer reportedly explained that he had placed his bag in a compartment above his seat. But as he was preparing to change trains due to a delay, he noticed his bag was gone. Importantly, the bag contained the engineer’s professional computer and two USB sticks that contain “sensitive” data, namely Paris City Hall’s security plans for the Olympics, which includes the deployment of some 2,000 municipal police officers.

Regional transport police are now investigating the crime, using CCTV footage. Paris City Hall and police have not immediately responded to TIME’s request for comment.

The International Olympic Committee expressed confidence in January in how French authorities would keep the 2024 Olympics, which kick off on July 26, safe with an “extensive security plan.”

Fearing attacks on crowded areas during the upcoming summer games, especially after Paris was home to a string of terrorist incidents that killed at least 130 people across the city in 2015 and violent riots sparked by social and economic concerns during the last couple years, security protocols have been ramped up, including controversial plans for stringent checkpoints and the deployment of tens of thousands of security staff, both public and private.

In preparation, organizers including the French government, IOC, and partner companies allocated a budget of 320 million euros (about $350 million) for security. Some 45,000 security staff are set to be deployed on the first day—which is expected to see as many as 600,000 spectators gather in the capital to watch boats carrying athletes through the river Seine for the first Olympics opening ceremony held outside a sports stadium. After that, 35,000 security staff are set to be deployed throughout Paris during the following days of the tournament, which runs until August 11.

Chad de Guzman

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