Police issue warning to golfers about Rolex thieves

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 16, 2022 12:52

Police in Hampshire have issued a warning to golfers about a female gang of robbers dubbed the Rolex rippers.

The women, usually in pairs, approach lone men often in the car parks of golf clubs, carrying clipboards, claiming to be conducting research, reports The Times.

With the questions answered, the women pretend to be pleased, kissing or hugging a victim to say thank you and a luxury watch disappears.

Police in Hampshire issued the warning after 30 almost identical “sleight of hand” thefts by women who often say they are representing charities.

At least nine similar thefts have been recorded in Dorset as well as reports in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, at several golf clubs.

“They claimed to be collecting signatures for a deaf centre,” a police statement said. “While signing the document, one gave the man a hug while the other grabbed his left hand. One tried to kiss the man but he broke away, and they walked off quickly. A short time he realised his watch was missing.”

Hampshire police said that despite the high volume of linked incidents they had yet to make any arrests and did not issue any descriptions.

The force said: “We are appealing for information and offering crime prevention advice following a spate of luxury watch distraction thefts and robberies across the county in the past year.

“During each incident, the suspect — typically a woman — has targeted elderly victims in public places by pretending to ask them about a survey or a petition. They often use a clipboard as a prop to appear genuine.”

The force said that the “desired target locations” tended to be near golf courses and supermarket car parks. However, some offences have also taken place outside residential properties.

“During the last 12 months, more than 30 incidents have been reported to us. Victims are predominantly targeted because they are wearing high value Rolex watches.”

The force urged the public to be vigilant, check credentials and “if in doubt ask for more information”.

They were also advised to photograph valuable jewellery and watches against a plain background with a ruler next to it, keep a written description and consider paying for forensic marking with a traceable liquid.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 16, 2022 12:52
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