Catch us if you can!

Since the end of 2019 police in the UK have been trying to net two femme fatale responsible for stealing a huge number of luxury watches, mostly Rolex. They’ve struck at least fifty times, officially, but it’s likely to be a lot more as it’s widely believed that some victims are just too embarrassed to come forward and admit they were duped.

Described as Eastern European, young, attractive, and highly professional, the cunning duo, dubbed the “Rolex Rippers”, target elderly men in affluent areas of Southern England.  Larney golf clubs and fancy supermarkets seem to be particular hotspots, but they’re also brazen enough to ply their trade bang in the centre of well-known towns, in and around Dorset.

The women usually pitch up with clipboards in hand and claim to be conducting research on behalf of charities. They ask the unwitting victim to complete a fake survey before complimenting them and then try to either hug or kiss them. While all this is going on they skilfully remove their watch using sleight of hand, before fleeing the scene of the crime in their getaway car. It’s all very slick and quick!

Alan Bruce, a 63-year-old from Wimborne, who lost a £14,000 gold Rolex, describes his experience –  “I was walking through the middle of the town, which was really busy when the pair approached me. One of them made out she was deaf and asked me to sign a petition for a new deaf centre. I signed it with my left hand, which was the hand I wear my watch on, and the same woman threw her arms around me. Straight away I put my hand on my pocket, where my wallet was, pushed her off, and walked away. Seconds later I realised they’d taken my watch but by the time I turned back, they’d gone”.

It seems the Rolex Rippers know no bounds as they are now taking on disguises in an effort to win favour with their victims and create trust. In the last couple of “incidents”, the two women were dressed as nurses, which obviously makes it very difficult to say no. Police have also warned that the longer they’re at large the better their already deft sleight of hand techniques will become. Almost three years in and all the authorities have on the duo are pretty broad descriptions, a few blurry CCTV pictures, and their modus operandi.

So what do we learn from this story – I guess that if you live at the posh end of England and own a Rolex, watch out!

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