By on August 8, 2015

Formula 1 Testing, Jerez

Jenson Button (pictured above) and his new wife (not pictured) were the target of apparent Bond villains last weekend after robbers allegedly knocked the couple and their guests out with gas pumped in through the vents and made away with $465,000 in jewelry, the BBC reported.

The Formula One driver, his wife and their guests, who were all staying in St. Tropez, weren’t injured in the robbery. A spokesman for Button muddled things further (emphasis ours):

“The police have indicated that this has become a growing problem in the region with perpetrators going so far as to gas their proposed victims through the air conditioning units before breaking in.”

So you’re saying this happens a lot? That doesn’t sound right.

Local officials quoted in the story by the BBC were skeptical of the claims.

“To our knowledge there has never been a burglary like this in St Tropez where gas was used to knock out the victims,” said Philippe Guemas, deputy prosecutor in Draguignan, France. “We have taken blood samples, which will be analysed.”

And anesthesiologists weren’t as hot on the idea too. The BBC reported that a spokesman for the Royal College of Anaesthetists said it was “highly unlikely” the group had been rendered unconscious by anaesthetic gas.

It would require “massive amounts of gas” to knock out those people.

“When you combine that with the fact that these gases are expensive and difficult to get hold of, we are very skeptical.”

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29 Comments on “Jenson Button, Wife, Gassed and Robbed in France...”


  • avatar
    Zekele Ibo

    The “gassed” part is obvious bullshit, and you acknowledge it in the article. The rest is Gawker-level celebrity bullshit. It’s sad to see “The Truth About Cars” abandoning the truth about cars and resorting to this ridiculous clickbait.

  • avatar
    stuki

    “It would require “massive amounts of gas” to knock out those people.”

    Not to mention the risk of using just a bit too much, or distributing it too unevenly, and turn what was supposed to be a garden variety heist, into mass murder….. For less than half a million.

    • 0 avatar
      360joules

      Many anesthesia gasses are also flammable and all are very expensive. Something smells…

      • 0 avatar
        El duce

        Modern anesthetic gasses are not flammable or particularly potent. They’re not expensive either. A bottle of Isoflurane costs a few bucks.
        Ether is extremely flammable and potent but is no longer used in the operating room.

  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    I’ve had guests that could knock out a whole room with gas. I’m never grilling asparagus patties and serving whiskey at the same time again.

    • 0 avatar
      Waftable Torque aka Daniel Ho

      Those crrrrrrrazy rich people. Embellishing travelers diarrhea and stomach flu into a knockout gas story, and trying to convert it into an insurance scam. The rich are different from you and me.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Yeah was reading all the UK papers this morning on this. Seems like a considerable muddle as to how it could have happened. The fact they took a sample of Button’s blood for analysis may clear up the matter as to the active agent if any remains.

    The papers report and name other cases where gassing is supposed to have taken place. All in southern Europe.

    • 0 avatar
      360joules

      Most of these gasses are eliminated by respiration. You have to breathe them out. This whole thing is possible, but tricky and expensive to do in real life and also to test for. The only plausible part of this is many hospitals do not have sophisticated safeguards for anesthetic gasses the way they do for sedatives/hypnotics, opiates, and paralytics.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    What does the Jenson Button do?

  • avatar
    05lgt

    The Russian special forces couldn’t smoothly do this when Chechins held hostages in a theatre, but jewel thieves can do it flawlessly? Hmmm, I think I just shortened the suspect list a little. Practice makes perfect.

  • avatar

    Ocean’s 14

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I read articles and watched the news on TV regarding this.

    I do suspect that all isn’t as it appears.

    I wonder what Button’s finances are like?

    Hmmm…….

  • avatar
    319583076

    Why are you all afraid to say “insurance fraud”?

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    I don’t want to be one of those nasty folks who blames the victim, but I’d feel a lot more sympathetic if they’d lost, say, $5K in jewelry.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    I always get gassed while in St. Tropez.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Wow, that is straight outta grand theft auto. Crazy stuff.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Anesthetic gasses smell and taste foul; somebody would have noticed it long before anybody fully succumbed to the effects. And yes, filling a room at a usable does would have required massive quantities, and it’s highly likely it would have killed some of the occupants in order to be effective enough to knock everybody unconscious.

    Volatile anesthetics are nearly always supplemented with the odorless, vastly cheaper, and widely available Nitrous Oxide, but used alone it, as nearly everybody knows, just makes you act like a combination of high and drunk. But even then, the anesthetic dose needed would have been noticed and the room evacuated to avoid the stench. Even people high on Nitrous have some sense of self-preservation. (Otherwise nobody would ever avoid inducing surgical patients with volatiles if all you had to do was administer Nitrous first.)

  • avatar
    Signal11

    Yeah, it’s just not close to being plausible. There is a reason why anesthesia is administered by medical personnel with years of specialized training – the line between unconsciousness and death is very fine.

    Likely what happened is the thieves followed them home while they were drunk or otherwise inebriated and cleared out their valuables while they were passed out in a drunken stupor.

    The “we got gassed” is a concoction either they or their PR people (including the others who claim likewise) came up with to save face.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Surprised it doesn’t happen more often to be honest.

  • avatar
    mdanda

    $400K worth of stuff in your house? If they did that to me, they’d get a couple of laptops, a bunch of video games, and a decent mountain bike. Now I’m depressed.

  • avatar
    MidLifeCelica

    How old is that picture? I can’t recall an F1 car ever being refueled at what looks like the side of the road. If this is the pit lane, why is no one changing the tires? Did they ever do refueling on the Start/Finish line? More than just the robbery seems fishy here!

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