Police urge caution for Rolex owners after series of distraction thefts
Main article content
Surrey Police are warning Rolex owners to take care of their watches as thieves posing as charity workers target the west of the county.
Since July 2021, Surrey Police have received eight reports of thefts of high-value watches. Most of these offences took place in the west of the county. In each case, the suspect used distraction techniques to slip the watch from the victims’ wrists.
In some cases, the victim was asked for the time, then followed to a quieter location where there was likely to be a lack of CCTV cameras before the suspect targeted them again and stole their watch. Victims have also been approached in supermarket car parks and even at a golf club.
The suspects for the cases reported so far have been women posing as charity workers. In one incident they approached the victim with a clipboard with the NHS logo on and asked them to sign a petition. We would urge caution when approached by anyone claiming to be a charity worker until you can verify their identity.
We are aware of multiple reports of similar offences taking place across Hampshire and Dorset and it is possible that the incidents reported in Surrey are part of a national series being committed by an organised crime group.
T/DCI Dave Bentley said, “We want to raise public awareness of this emerging crime type in our community.
“Criminals are targeting preying upon the good nature of their victims and using distraction techniques to slip the watch right off their wrist. These watches are often of significant financial and sentimental value.
We are aware of similar offences reported to other police forces over the past few months, and it is possible that the same suspects are responsible for the thefts we are seeing now in West Surrey. We are hard at work trying to identify the suspects, but we ask you to be vigilant while we continue our investigation.
The best form of prevention is awareness, so please pay attention to your surroundings when out in public. If you have concerns that someone is falsely representing themselves as a charity worker, ask them for identification. If they cannot provide any or cannot verify who they are, call 101 and raise your concerns with us.”
Time to protect your watch from theft:
Cover your watch with your shirt, jacket, or coat sleeves when out in public
Pay attention to your surroundings. Who might be watching or following you?
Not every thief needs to use force to steal from you. Keep your distance from strangers
Genuine charity workers won’t mind you verifying their identity before signing petitions or donating money