Watch owners in New York are being victimized at an increasing rate as thieves target high-end timepieces more frequently.
There have been at least 132 cases of stolen or missing Rolexes this year, the New York Post reported. The watches were taken via gunpoint robberies, store grabs and women who pick up watch-wearing men in bars and strip clubs.
Most recently, a Sunday street heist cost one Manhattan man his $26,000 Rolex when he was robbed at gunpoint on Second Avenue, the Post stated.
“They’re using guns because no one’s stopping them,” a source said in the Post. “It’s less likely that the victim’s going to fight back when they have a gun pointed at them. It’s a crime of opportunity.”
Sunday’s theft, though, was just one in a long list of watch robberies over the course of 2015, many of which made news for their brazenness or unusual circumstances.
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Earlier in December, Port Authority police arrested Leslie Sharbo, a contracted baggage handler at JFK, for stealing six Linde Werdelin collectible watches worth more than $130,000, Newsday reported, stating that one of those watches has yet to be recovered.
Just a few days after that arrest, the $590,000 Greubel Forsey timepiece belonging to Beverly Hills watch retailer Steven Rostovsky was allegedly taken by two prostitutes during a party in his room at the Baccarat Hotel, the Daily Mail reported.
Even more recently, thieves targeting Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop brand pop-up store near Columbus Circle made off with more than $173,000 worth of jewelry and watches, including three Rolexes, according to CBS.
“The number definitely jumps off the page,” a source said of the 132 incidents to the Post. The theft victims included 31 men who brought women back to their hotel rooms after meeting them at bars.