Police in Westminster have today seized a haul of watches worth £2 million, suspected to be timepieces stolen in robberies targeting wealthy victims in central London.
Around 250 watches were seized in a raid on an unlicensed pawnbroker in Westminster, with one in particular drawing attention – a Breguet Tourbillon worth around £100,000, possibly the same watch stolen recently in an unusual "hand shake scam" in Mayfair.
Many of the watches were from luxury brands including Franck Muller, Audemars Piguet, Jacob & Co., Ulysse Nardin and Breitling, while platinum and diamond-set timepieces were among the loot.
Police said they believe many of the watches were taken during “hugger mugger” attacks, when victims are targeted by over friendly strangers on the street.
A 39-year-old man has been arrested and is on bail.
Detectives are investigating 48 attacks in Mayfair that have taken place over a the past three months. Around 150 watches were found on sale, while the remainder were held in a private safe.
Detective Inspector Andrew Fleming, of Westminster CID, said: “We looked at the people going into the store and they did not necessarily fit the profile of the people in that area.
“The owner was putting around £500,000 worth of watches into the shop window each day.”