F1 driver Button says he was burgled in French Riviera villa _ perhaps after being gassed

Burglars have ransacked the rented French Riviera villa of Formula One driver Jenson Button and his wife, Jessica — possibly after pumping anaesthetic gas through air-conditioning vents.

Button and his wife were on vacation with friends in St. Tropez on Monday when thieves broke in as they slept, making off with jewelry. Among the items stolen was Jessica Button's engagement ring.

Button's representatives said in a statement Friday that police have told them such thefts have become a growing problem, with thieves pumping in the gas to give them free rein in the properties.

No one was hurt, but the statement said the couple were "unsurprisingly shaken" by events.

The 35-year-old former world champion, who drives for McLaren Honda, married his model wife in Hawaii in December.