(CBS News) Police have arrested a suspect in one recent robbery on the French Riviera, but he is not a thief. The suspect is a jeweler who is accused of killing a 19-year-old bandit who held up his shop.
Investigators found the body of the teenager in the street, shot in the back -- not far from the jewelry store he just robbed. His accomplice got away on a motorcycle.
Stephan Turk, the store owner who allegedly killed him, said robbers punched and kicked him before forcing him to open his safe at gunpoint. "It is he who decided to come to my place," Turk said, "he who had weapons and forced himself into the store. I don't want to shoot people, but when I am attacked, I defend my life."
But the teen was shot as he fled. Now Turk is been charged with the equivalent of second-degree murder.
His arrest sparked a backlash in the southern city of Nice, where the robbery and shooting took place. The city's mayor stood beside Turk's son in support. After a wave of brash armed robberies in France, residents say enough is enough.
Earlier this summer a lone gunman in nearby Cannes made off with a $136 million in precious gems. Days later in the same city thieves snatched a $2.6 million necklace. And just over a week ago, robbers rammed an SUV into a jewelry store in Paris and bagged $3 million in jewels.
John O'Connor, former head of Scotland Yard's Armed Robbery Squad, said, "(Robbing jewelry stores) is now the fashionable thing to be doing because you don't need a great deal of skill in doing it. It's crash, bang, wallop, it's straight in. You know you're not going to immediately be facing an armed response team."
Which is why so many people support the shop owner's claim he acted in self defense. They say it was time somebody finally fought back, and why French prosecutors will face further outrage if he's found guilty of murder.
Watch Charlie D'Agata's full report above.