'Rolex Ripper' gangs stalk celebrities online then steal their watches to order

'rolex ripper' gangs stalk celebrities online then steal their watches to order

‘Rolex Ripper’ gangs stalk celebrity social media profiles for rare watches before stealing them to order (Picture: MET office)

‘Rolex ripper’ gangs are using celebrities’ social media pages to stalk those wearing expensive watches before robbing them.

Thieves are using knives and guns to violently take the valuable watches whilst their victims are walking on the street.

Some are even ‘stolen to order’ for buyers on the black market who are after big brands including Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille.

Celebrities and the wealthy are targeted in London, with one expert saying the trend is so bad ‘you can’t go out to dinner’ in the capital.

Former boxer Amir Khan was robbed at gun point as he and his wife were leaving an east London restaurant in April last year.

But there is no evidence this was done to order.

One gang, dubbed the ‘Rolex Rippers’ carried out an 18-day crime spree across southwest London over Christmas 2021 and January 2022.

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'rolex ripper' gangs stalk celebrities online then steal their watches to order

Amir Khan’s diamond-encrusted Franck Muller Vanguard Chronograph watch worth between £60,000 and £70,000 was robbed. It is not known whether this was stolen to order (Picture: Central News/Web Collect)

'rolex ripper' gangs stalk celebrities online then steal their watches to order

Roshan Clark, pictured posing with stolen watches, was one member of the gang which terrorised south-west London

They used machetes and zombie knives to scare their victims into handing over their prized possessions in five separate attacks.

Thankfully they were eventually caught by the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad during a high speed chase, during which they left behind crucial evidence in a car they abandoned.

Two members, including Roshan Clark, were seen posing in photos where they were seen wearing the stolen watches.

Michael Malik Ahmed pleaded guilty to six counts of robbery.

Kaijuan Henry, Jessy Ouma Zakariah Yusuf, Joseph Opoku and Roshan Clark also all admitted being involved.

Christopher Marinello, founder of Art Recovery International, told The Times: ‘Gangs are looking at them and thinking, ‘He’s staying at this hotel in London and he’s got these Hublot watches. Let’s wait for him to pop out and we’ll get him.

'rolex ripper' gangs stalk celebrities online then steal their watches to order

The moment former world boxing champion Amir Khan was robbed at gunpoint for his £70,000 diamond-encrusted watch. It is not known whether his watch was stolen to order (Picture: PA)

'rolex ripper' gangs stalk celebrities online then steal their watches to order

Michael Malik Ahmed, a member of the Rolex Rippers, pleaded guilty to six counts of robbery

‘You can’t blame people for wanting to show off what they have but there simply aren’t enough police on the street these days.

‘You can’t go out to dinner in Mayfair wearing a high-end watch. These robberies happen several times a week and thieves are becoming more violent.’

Alex Bomberg, chairman of security company Intelligent Protection International, said stolen watches can be sold on the black market for ‘maybe one-tenth or a fifth of their value’.

He said: ‘If they’re stolen to order it raises a number of issues; there could be street credibility for criminals who take a watch off a famous person’s arm and sell it to a collector who is happy to buy stolen timepieces.’

Commander Owain Richards, the Met’s lead for robbery and violent crime, told the paper: ‘I’m sorry for any victim we have let down in terms of a lack of effective and compassionate response.

‘There is more to do. I’m not content with where we are with our detection rates and my mission is fewer robberies, more detection and less crime.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

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