No, this is not a plot to the next action film, nor a new Netflix thriller. What we’re about to tell you is going on in real time and has luxury lovers on high alert. Crime syndicates across Europe and the United Kingdom have turned their attention to Rolex watches. Contrary to what you might think they’re doing (high intensity smash and grabs, boutique holdups, etc.), these groups have turned the art of the steal (no pun intended) into an intricate, technical endeavour. In fact, with some- blink and you’ll miss it.
In the UK, a group of women, now dubbed the “Rolex Rippers,” have become notorious in recent thefts where upwards of 30 separate Rolex watches were stolen- all in separate incidences throughout the year. The women pose as representatives of charities or other organizations, and work in pairs, with one distracting the victim while the other works quickly and quietly to remove the timepiece off the individual- unbeknownst to them. Authorities have stated that the gang specifically targets older, affluent males at venues such as golf clubs or upscale shopping centers.
Police have advised the public to consistently be aware of their surroundings, and to always ask for more information if approached by someone claiming to represent a charity, think-tank or other organization. These smooth criminals also use to their benefit the act of flattery- often complimenting their victims, and even going in for a hug or kiss right before bidding farewell… with Rolex watch in tow.
Below are images released by Dorset police of two suspects believed to be the masterminds of the operation. Said to be young and of eastern European origin, the women often sport clipboards, masks, and sometimes even medical scrubs, when approaching potential victims.
Sleight of hand robberies are no longer tricks you see on screen or by magicians before you. Criminals and thieves are perfecting the technique to remove priceless pieces of jewelry and other items from unknowing victims- resulting in maximum reward with minimum effort. Perhaps the days of loud, theatrical, over-the-top burglaries are a thing of the past- then again…
A hop, skip and a jump away in France, police there are dealing with their own version of the “Rolex Rippers.” Groups from Paris’ suburbs are infiltrating the chic arrondissements of the city and targeting none other than Rolex watches as the object of their thefts. Though not as sleek and suave as the women using fast-hands to remove watches from the wrists of their victims, the Parisian group strategically scouts out homes with lights off and owners out of sight. Not limiting themselves to just that, however, this group also stays posted outside bars and restaurants, preying on intoxicated patrons.
In one weekend alone, a businessman returned to his Paris home to find 11 of his Rolex watches stolen from his safe. On a separate occasion, a female shopper leaving a market near the Arc de Triomphe was ambushed by the gang and had her priceless watch ripped off her arm.
Between the smash-and-grab robberies we continuously report on happening in the United States, and these new incidences in Europe and the UK, the frequency of luxury thefts is on the rise. Certainly a scary time for all luxury lovers to be living in, this is a moment where we all need to remind ourselves to be vigilant, observant and mindful of where we are at all times.