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'Top Gear Host Richard Hammond Gassed By Burglars ... While in Saint-Tropez

9/2/2018 12:46 PM PDT

Ex-'Top Gear' host Richard Hammond and a bunch of his houseguests were gassed and robbed in the South of France ... according to the guy's wife, who was also there.

Sunday Express columnist Mindy Hammond told the outlet Sunday that she, Richard and a large group of friends staying with them had been burglarized recently while staying at a villa in Saint Tropez -- after she believes they were all knocked out with anesthetic gas. 

She says the terrifying experience went down over a weekend, in which 15 guests -- herself, Richard and their teenage daughter included -- woke up one morning to find that everyone's wallet and purses had been ransacked of cash, not to mention their kid's watch.

Mindy goes on to explain that everyone's doors were open as were dresser drawers, as if someone had rifled through them in search of more loot. She says they discovered a neighboring property had also been robbed in the night ... which got cops involved.

Luckily, this story has a happy ending. Mindy says two of the alleged robbers were caught on CCTV on the grounds and were arrested within 48 hours of the heist. Apparently, gas-based burglaries have been happening on-and-off in the area for a few years now.

'Top Gear' Star -- My SWEET Summer Ride

7/26/2011 12:10 AM PDT
"Top Gear" star Rutledge Wood is gonna have a fun time driving this summer ... because the TV host just bought a SICK vintage Volkswagen van from the '60s -- and he's already got some awesome plans for it.

Rutledge tells TMZ he recently purchased a 1966 VW Double Cab -- and even though it doesn't have any seat belts yet, it did come with a cool surfboard ... and he plans to put a '50s Coca-Cola cooler in it as well.

The car enthusiast says his father-in-law found the car on eBay and asked Rutledge to go check it out for him. Wood fell in love with it and made a deal to trade his 1970 Datsun 521 for it, as well as a little extra cash.

Rutledge says he plans on piling the family inside the car a lot this summer to drive down and hang out with his NASCAR pal Kyle Petty at his beach house in Charleston, SC.

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