Crime

JSA Issues Warning About Watch Robberies

CrimeMar 15, 2021

JSA Issues Warning About Watch Robberies

The Jewelers’ Security Alliance said it has received several reports of high-end watches being stolen right off retailers’ wrists.

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New York—The Jewelers’ Security Alliance is warning jewelers to be wary of the risks involved in wearing expensive watches following a string of robberies on both coasts.

One of the most widely reported robberies involved Los Angeles jeweler Shay Belhassen, who was out to lunch in Beverly Hills when three armed men grabbed him from behind, choked him and put a gun to his head, JSA said.

They took his rose gold Richard Mille 11-03 Flyback Chronograph watch right off of his wrist.

A struggle ensued and a gun belonging to one of the suspects went off, injuring a woman in the restaurant.

As previously reported, Belhassen is offering a $50,000 reward for information on the suspects or the watch.

Those with information can also contact JSA at 212-687-0328 or jsa2@jewelerssecurity.org.

JSA said it recently has received numerous reports of jewelers being targeted and robbed in the New York and Los Angeles areas while wearing high-end watches, particularly Richard Mille watches, which can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The organization sent out an alert warning jewelers about the thefts last week, but President John J. Kennedy said he could not share additional details about specific incidents at this time.

One media report out of New York detailed the theft of a Audemars Piguet from a Queens man who said his jeweler friends had had their watches stolen too. 

 Related stories will be right here … 

According to the report, in late February, the man was robbed of his $120,000 Audemars Piguet watch by two masked men in the garage of his apartment building.

The man, who wanted to be identified only as David, told NBC New York he felt as if he was being watched all day and that he was not the first of his friends to have his watch stolen.

“There’s someone out there that’s targeting all of us, it’s definitely the same people that [are] targeting us,” he said. 

“Could be a crew, they targeted all my friends and a lot of them are jewelers.”

David also is offering $50,000 reward for anyone with information about the robbery.

JSA shared some safety tips in light of the recent robberies, advising jewelers to:
— Avoid conducting jewelry business in a public place; 
— Do not resist in the event of an armed robbery; and 
— Be mindful of the special risks involved in wearing expensive watches, and limit that risk accordingly. 

Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.

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