'Rolex rippers' caught after bungling watch robbers leave phone in car and pose with stolen timepieces

14 February 2023, 15:50

The group is facing punishment for a spate of robberies
The group is facing punishment for a spate of robberies. Picture: Metropolitan Police

By Will Taylor

A group dubbed the "Rolex rippers" have been jailed after a spate of terrifying knifepoint watch robberies throughout London.

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They made their victims fear for their lives as they threatened them with a large knife or machete and stole watches and bags.

But their spree was halted after they botched an escape and cops were able to track them down.

Michael Malik Ahmed, 29, of Balham, South London, admitted six counts of robbery – four on December 21 2021 and two on January 9 2022.

He was also found guilty of possessing an offensive weapon used in the attacks and dangerous driving.

Kaijuan Henry, 19, of Dagenham, was found guilty of his part in the December robberies, while Jessy Ouma, 18, of Wandsworth was found guilty of being involved in the January 9 robberies.

Zakariah Yusuf, 19, Joseph Opoku, 19, and Roshan Clark, 18, all of the Winstanley Estate in Battersea, had previously pleaded guilty to being involved.

Clark was caught wearing stolen watches
Clark was caught wearing stolen watches. Picture: Metropolitan Police
Yusuf was part of the watch theft group
Yusuf was part of the watch theft group. Picture: Metropolitan Police

On December 21, the group, who used a BMW with fake plates to get around, stopped a couple walking down Old Church Street in West London shortly before midday.

Ahmed was driving. Clark and Henry jumped out, armed with a crowbar and a large serrated knife, and forced him to hand over a Tag Heuer watch worth about £1,500.

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Then at noon the same day, a man was chased down Cornford Grove by Clark and Henry, one of whom brandished a long zombie knife.

He was punched in a doorway, causing him to lose a tooth, and had his bag stolen.

At 6pm that day, two men sat at a pub table in Walton Street, West London, saw a car screech to a halt in front of them before Clark and Henry got out and forced them to hand over their watches worth about £35,000 each.

On January 9, Ouma, Yusuf and Opoku jumped out of the vehicle driven by Ahmed and, with one armed with a large machete, forced a woman to hand over a £6,000 Rolex and a Bulgari ring.

Ouma was caught by police
Ouma was caught by police. Picture: Metropolitan Police
Henry was caught by police for his role in the robberies
Henry was caught by police for his role in the robberies. Picture: Metropolitan Police

A man was hit in the face, causing fractures, and his Tag Heuer watch worth £1,150 was taken.

But the couple was able to tell police the car's registration and it was spotted later in Balham.

Officers chased it, and the BMW crashed into a wooden fence. The group fled, and while they managed to get away from police, Ahmed left his house keys, phone and a bank card in the car.

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Yusuf left his jacket and phone.

Officers were able to track them down from this and found the other crooks through them.

Detectives found photos of Henry and Clark celebrating their robberies by wearing the stolen watches, while forensic evidence and cell site data linked the group to the robberies.

However, none of the watches have been found.

Opoku was taken to court over his involvement in the crimes
Opoku was taken to court over his involvement in the crimes. Picture: Metropolitan Police
Ahmed was caught
Ahmed was caught. Picture: Metropolitan Police

Detective Sergeant Gary Taylor, from the Met's Flying Squad, said: "These men carried out multiple violent robberies which left many of those targeted fearing for their lives. Their attacks were brazen, took place on busy streets and I have no doubt they would have gone on to commit further crimes if they had not been quickly caught.

"We know the impact these crimes have on each and every victim and our team worked tirelessly to ensure we identified those responsible and brought them to justice.

"Those who live in and visit our city should not have to go about their daily lives in fear of thieves. Sadly we know there has been a rise in these types of offences and we would urge people to remain aware of their surroundings and where possible to keep valuables out of sight."

He added: "We are pleased that a dangerous gang has been taken off our streets and our city will be safer now that these six men are facing a considerable period behind bars."

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