SW1 Watch Robbery

Last year Nov 16th, I hadn’t long joined Valkyrie and one of my early tasking was to accompany a client to a restaurant in Knightsbridge SW1, a restaurant we know well and is not too far from our office. We left the restaurant at around 12.30am heading back on Basil St. to the client’s hotel on Pavilion Rd. However, as we attempted to turn into Pavilion Rd, we noticed a large police presence, they were clearly dealing with a dynamic incident, so we vacated the area immediately returning to hotel via an alternate route. On completion of the task, I investigated the incident and found out a violent robbery had taken place.

3 men (US tourists) had been crossing Pavilion Rd. when an armed (knife/stun gun) gang attacked them. A 31-yr-old man wearing a £100,000 Rolex was hit with the stun gun, pushed to the ground and his watch stolen. The gang also tried to stab the 31-yr-old who tried to stop the attack. After stealing the watch the gang escaped in a getaway car.

Despite the attack being caught on several CCTV cameras/mobile phones, those responsible were not identifiable as their faces were covered and they wore dark clothing. The getaway vehicle used was a Jaguar F-PACE and had been stolen and fitted with false plates making it difficult to identify/track down. That said, the car was tracked after detectives managed to identify a sticker on the bottom of its windscreen. They then worked through crime records to find out how many Jaguar F-PACEs had been reported stolen and remained unrecovered, there were 30-40. The police then contacted the Jaguar owners and one owner informed officers that their car had a parking permit for their child’s school – this matched the sticker on the windscreen. From there, detectives were able to work out where the car had been prior/post the robbery and looked closer at CCTV, this led to footage capturing the gang meeting prior to the attack without masks and were identified. The vehicle was later found in a carpark in SW6, a forensic examination linked the men to the vehicle.

The investigation/subsequent trial (Oct 5th 22) resulted in 2 men being convicted of the violent attack/robbery – T. Lenaghan, 23, & R. Fitzgerald, 20 both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob, threatening a person with a bladed article, possession of a stun gun and threatening a person with a stun gun. A 3rd man, J. Stovell, 50, pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods/assisting an offender. They will be sentenced Dec 9th. This was an excellent piece of detective work by the police piecing together the evidence, achieving a conviction and getting the perpetrators off the street. We have followed the case closely awaiting to see the results of the investigation and the trial.

In recent posts we have highlighted the increase in gangs targeting people who are wearing and displaying expensive items such as watches. With this particular case it’s not clear whether the perpetrators had previous knowledge that one of victims was wearing such an expensive watch, maybe via social media, reconnaissance or even insider information, or whether they were opportunists, although the nature of the attack does indicate some prior knowledge was likely.

Unfortunately this incident once again highlights the ongoing need to be vigilant/practice good situational awareness, watch what you put on social media, only share your plans with those who need to know/trust and avoid displaying expensive item when in public.

Valkyrie Updates


Stay informed with the latest insights, expertise and innovations in the world of security with Valkyrie’s news, reports and white papers