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Three arrests after dad died during ‘hammer robbery for luxury watch’
17 March 2023, 12:52
Three men have been arrested after a father died during a suspected robbery for a luxury watch.
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Horrified shoppers watched as Darren Smith, 50, was ambushed by thugs at the Shard End shopping centre in Birmingham.
An eyewitness claimed he had been attacked with a hammer in a bid to steal a designer watch.
Detectives have said they understand he might have been the victim of robbery but were keeping an "open mind".
West Midlands Police said today that three arrests had been made.
"The men - aged 31, 35 and 53 - were detained in Devon yesterday (16 March) and have been brought back to a West Midlands custody block for questioning over his death," a statement said.
An eyewitness told the Express: "A 50-year-old bloke has been attacked with a hammer or something similar for his Rolex.
"It was crazy, there were police helicopters overhead and dozens of police and ambulances. All this was happening at the end of the school day. There were kids around, it's terrible.
"A blue tent has since been set up. It doesn't look good."
One heartbroken social media user said: "Spent half the night awake thinking of you Wiff… looking back through old messages, smiling at the laughs, the stories & the utter madness you brought, there was never a dull moment with you around, our very own ginger Tasmanian devil..
"To think you’ve been taken from this life… for a possession angers me & breaks my heart.
"Darren Wiffa Smith you lived a colourful life.. you were the funniest lad, the biggest lovable rogue.. and just as you were pushing life to its full potential, just like that…. you’re gone."
Another said: "Coming home to the hear the shocking news of Darren Wiffa Smith , his life taken over a personal possession. Awful news."
Mr Smith was found seriously injured outside shops on Wednesday afternoon.
Anyone with information has been asked to call 101 using log 2653 of 15 March.
If confirmed, it would follow a spate of high-profile expensive watch robberies.
In London, a group dubbed the "Rolex rippers" were jailed after a spate of terrifying knifepoint watch robberies throughout the capital.
They made their victims fear for their lives as they threatened them with a large knife or machete and stole watches and a bag.
But their spree was halted after they botched an escape and cops were able to track them down.
A man was convicted earlier this year of robbing elite Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish at knifepoint in his own home.
Romario Henry, 31, of Lewisham in South East London, was found guilty of two counts of robbery.
Cavendish and his wife Peta had their high-value watches robbed at knifepoint at their home in Ongar, Essex.