High Value Time Piece Crime Wave

As you may have no doubt seen in the media this week, 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 22.

He and his wife were being spied on in a restaurant before the thieves struck. Hours before the attack outside the Sahara Grill, Khan had been pictured by a member of the public on Instagram shopping at Oxford Street while wearing the diamond-encrusted timepiece. Sportspeople have become regular targets for criminal gangs in recent years.

Last week the Met 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.

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.

During mid-90s, I remember in my police career, the MO for robbers was to ask a member of the public for the time, and once they had seen the watch, snatched it from them, if they deemed the watch was valuable, the tactics of today have clearly evolved and become ever more violent.

The Met’s long-running ‘Operation Venice’ seeks to tackle crime carried out by criminals riding motorbikes and mopeds – traditionally the favoured form of getaway for robbers – or electric bikes, which are increasingly being used too.

Several of our previous posts have been on the issue of street crime (June 20) and other posts cover associated elements like personal security (May 22), the ‘gray’ man/woman (July 22) and situation awareness (Dec 21) but as a reminder here are ten considerations to help reduce you being targeted.

Consider the security and safety implications in all you do – develop a security mind-set and encourage others to do the same

Adopt a low profile and don’t drop your guard – dress down and adopt a ‘grey man/woman’ persona. Avoid wearing expensive jewellery, watches, standout-clothing etc.

Remain vigilant and situationally aware. Only you can likely help yourself, take responsibility for your security at all times

Always know what is going on around you and think about what might happen next

Know where you are going and have alternate routes and a plan of action should something happen. Avoid ‘looking lost’ – by doing this you become vulnerable, and criminals will look to target you. Avoid listening to music on your phone when moving from A to B

If something doesn’t look/feel right it probably isn’t – DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Be discrete about intentions (travel plans, dates, meetings, hotels etc.) especially with casual acquaintances and on social media

Only travel with essential items, and avoid personal and identifying information on bags/personal items etc. Do not give others personal information

Always be alert for anything suspicious whether at the office, hotel, site, home or out and about. Watch out for individuals behaving suspiciously or anything out of the normal. Be aware of enquires/comments and any form of reconnaissance of buildings OR you

Vary your routine, timings, and the methods of transport you use

security@valkyrie.co.uk | T: +44 (0) 2074 999 323

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