Los Angeles police are still searching for a gang of armed robbers who stole a $500,000 Richard Mille watch from a Beverley Hills jeweller on March 4.
Shay Belhassen, owner of DBS Diamonds, which trades in gems, jewelry and rare watches from the likes of Richard Mille from locations in Los Angeles, New York and Israel, was held up at gun point for a rose gold Richard Mille RM 11-03 Flyback Chronograph watch.
The attack is a cautionary tale for high end watch traders and authorised dealers in this country, which have increasingly turned to clienteling and one-on-one meetings with customers outside secure stores while we have been in lock down.
The Los Angles Times reported that Mr Belhassen was showing watches to a client in Il Pastaio restaurant in Beverley Hills, when he was set upon by three men.
“One of them ran and pulled a gun from his jacket pocket, grabbed me from the back of my chair, choking me and putting a gun to my head,” Mr Belhassen told The LA Times.
“His two friends — one of them is yanking my hand and the other is yanking at my watch. I grabbed the gun with both my hands and fought them to the ground. At the end of the fight I ended up with the gun, and they ran away.”
The gun was fired during the fight, and two people dining in the restaurant suffering minor injuries.
Closed circuit TV of the incident from a pharmacy across the street captured the moment the gun discharged as people ducked for cover.
Mr Belhassen’s DBS Diamonds frequently advertises Richard Mille and other high end timepieces on its Instagram feed. He has offered a reward of $50,000 for the return of the stolen watch.
Beverly Hills police believe Mr Belhassen was specifically targeted for his watch.