Watch robbery victim urges others to be vigilant amid high value timepiece crime wave

22 August 2022, 07:16 | Updated: 22 August 2022, 09:14

Owners of high value watches have been targeted across the capital
Owners of high value watches have been targeted across the capital. Picture: Alamy/LBC
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The victim of a terrifying watch robbery has urged others to be vigilant as a wave of high value watch thefts sweeps the capital.

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As we reported yesterday moped thieves were caught on camera smashing in the window of a Bugatti Chiron in Mayfair in a bid to 'steal the driver's watch'.

Last month the Metropolitan Police appealed to the public for help in catching watch thieves.

Scotland Yard reported there had been 67 watch thefts in central London between May 31 and June 27, an increase of roughly 60 percent in the previous four weeks’ total.

The force described shocking incidents like a broad daylight robbery in the Chelsea area in which a machete-wielding thief on a moped forced a couple to surrender their watches, an Audemars Piguet and a Patek Philippe.

They were forced to hand over their Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe watches. Some Patek Philippe watches are worth up to £210,000.

Just two days later a woman was threatened with a knife by two people on a motorbike and was forced to give them her watch and bracelet at 9.45pm in Kensington and Chelsea.

Over the weekend a man was left hospitalised after suffering head injuries following a violent robbery in Fulham.

The victim in his 40s was walking on the tow path through Bishops Park when he was assaulted by an unknown suspect at 8.20pm on Wednesday, August 17.

The victim received several blows to the head and had his watch stolen. He was knocked unconscious and found by a member of the public shortly afterwards, who called for an ambulance.

The victim was taken to hospital with head injuries where he remains in a life changing condition.

Boxer Amir Khan was robbed at gunpoint for his £70,000 Franck Muller watch in Leyton in April.

He and his wife were being spied on in a restaurant before the thieves struck, a court heard last month.

Read more: Amir Khan robbed of his £72,000 watch at gunpoint in east London

In 2019 an Omani student, Mohammed Al-Araimi, was stabbed to death for his Rolex in Knightsbridge.

The Met Police has appealed for public help with a series of watch thefts
The Met Police has appealed for public help with a series of watch thefts. Picture: LBC

In the wake of the spree of watch robberies across the capital, one victim has spoken out urging others to be vigilant of their surroundings.

Gabriel Leung was walking home along Oak Hill Park, Hampstead in July 2019 when he was approached from behind by 27-year-old Junior Britto.

Britto was armed with a large knife and ordered Gabriel to hand over his Invicta watch, valued at around £250.

“I was very close to my front door when I heard this car screech and pull up beside me and a man got out waving a machete,” he said.

“He ordered me to give him my watch so I threw it to the ground and he took it before getting back into the car and speeding away. The watch wasn’t particularly expensive but had sentimental value as I was given it when I was a groomsman at a wedding.

“The experience was terrifying, I didn’t know what he might do. I was in total shock and disbelief, you see things like this on TV but never expect them to happen to you.”

Owners of high value watches have been targeted
Owners of high value watches have been targeted. Picture: Alamy

Last week the force announced it is investigating a series of linked high-value watch robberies comprising of 12 offences that all took place in London from May to July this year.

During these offences the victim was usually injured by being struck with an object, before their watch was stolen.

Detectives believe that the offences are being committed by two to three people, and that they are using a silver-coloured Audi Q2 as their mode of transport.

Detective Inspector Vicky Allen of the Met’s Central South Command said: “We understand the impact of robbery on the victim and know that the effects can run far deeper than a loss of property or pride.

“Robbery is a violent crime and tackling violence in all its forms is a priority for us.

“We are determined to identify and apprehend these criminals – if you have any information please do the right thing and get in touch.”

List of Offences:

  • 1] On 25 May 2022 at around 02:00hrs a 24-year-old man was robbed at Marine Street, SE16.
  • 2] On 1 June 2022 at around 23:00hrs a 27-year-old man was robbed at Dalyell Road SW9.
  • 3] On 10 June 2022 at around 22:00hrs a 33-year-old man was robbed at Hestercombe Avenue SW6.
  • 4] On 15 June 2022 at around 18:15hrs a 40-year-old man was robbed at Chiddington Street SW6.
  • 5] On 24 June 2022 at around 17:00hrs a 64-year-old man was robbed at Gibson Hill SW16.
  • 6] On 1 July 2022 at around 18:30hrs a 40-year-old man was robbed at Trouville Road SW16.
  • 7] On 3 July 2022 at around 17:15hrs a 30-year-old man was robbed at Orchard Road, BR1.
  • 8] On 8 July 2022 at around 19:30hrs a 43-year-old man was robbed at Manville Road SW17.
  • 9] On 10 July 2022 at around 21:00hrs a 36-year-old man was robbed at Crawthew Grove, SE25.
  • 10] On 11 July 2022 at around 02:00hrs a 38-year-old man was robbed at Thackeray Road, SW8.
  • 11] On 15 July 2022 at around 18:30hrs a 39-year-old woman was robbed at Camberwell Grove, SE5.
  • 12] On 15 July 2022 at around 21:30hrs a 27-year-old man was robbed at Hydethorpe Road, SW12.