PARIS (Reuters) - French police have arrested an Air France stewardess on suspicion of stealing thousands of euros in cash, cards and jewelry as passengers slept on long haul flights, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Police investigating thefts over several months on flights between France and the Far East picked up the 47-year old attendant identified as Lucie R. after she landed from Tokyo on Friday, Le Figaro said.
"Her bank accounts showed an absurd gap between her lifestyle and her declared income," the newspaper quoted a police investigator as saying.
Police launched an investigation in January after about 4,000 euros' ($5,170) was stolen from five passengers. The robber took advantage of sleeping passengers, taking euros, yen, and Swiss francs as well as watches, jewels, credit cards and even cheque books.
According to the newspaper, the woman, who worked mainly in business class, began her spree in March 2009 to ease financial problems and has confessed to 26 thefts.
Since January, there have been about 140 thefts, the newspaper said. "The Japanese were ideal prey because they travel with lots of cash -- euros and yen -- instead of paying with credit cards," a police source said.
Police found travelers' cheques, blank cheques and bank card numbers at her home, the newspaper said.
(Reporting by John Irish; editing by David Stamp)