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Eiffel Tower Briefly Evacuated Over Bomb Threat

Eiffel Tower
All three floors of the Eiffel Tower were evacuated on Saturday evening. Credit: NonOmnisMoriar / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France was evacuated by authorities over a bomb threat on Saturday afternoon.

The security alert led to the evacuation of all three floors of the emblematic monument. A team of deminers searched the site while the tower remained closed to the public for over two hours.

A representative of the monument told Euronews that the operation was standard procedure in this type of incident, which is rather rare.

Reuters reports that the site was reopened after the search concluded: “It was a false alarm, people can go back inside,” their source said.

Evacuations of the Eiffel Tower are rare, but not unknown, French media note. In 2019, the monument was evacuated and closed after a man was spotted climbing up the side.

A little-known story about the Eiffel Tower

Constructed from 1887 to 1889, the world-famous Parisian landmark is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower.

It is a global cultural icon of France, one of the most recognizable structures around the globe and among the world’s most-visited monuments with an entrance fee.

Although its history is well known, few people would have heard that the Eiffel Tower was sold twice by con artist Victor Lustig.

Lustig, an Austrian-Hungarian native born in 1890, started off as a lowly panhandler and pickpocket and worked his way up to a con artist.

In the 1920s, he learned that the Eiffel Tower was never meant to stand for more than two decades. As a result, it required frequent and expensive repairs, which allowed his story to sound legitimate.

Lustig, pretending to be a government official from Paris, met with scrap metal merchants from all across the city and told them the government intended to physically scrap the Eiffel Tower to save money.

He forged paperwork with the French government seal on documents and held meetings at a nearby luxury hotel to make his story believable that he would sell the Eiffel Tower to anyone willing to knock it down and discard or recycle all the metal.

Andrew Poisson, a trader, even paid a bribe of roughly seventy thousand dollars in cash—worth over one million dollars today—to guarantee that he would be awarded the winning bid.

It was only after Poisson had shelled out the money that he realized he had been duped and felt so humiliated by the theft to even report it.

Lustig attempted to pull off the same trick once again the following year but police were informed in a timely manner and forced him to leave the country before he could collect payment from a second victim.

Lustig eventually settled in the United States, where he continued his life as a con artist and famously even conned the notorious criminal Al Capone before ending up in jail.

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