Syndicate of Luxury Watch Thieves Reportedly Linked to North Africa

Syndicate of Luxury Watch Thieves Reportedly Linked to North Africa
Source: Unsplash/ Casey Connell

Recent arrests of individuals from Algeria and Libya in the UK has shed light on the so-called “Rolex Rippers”, a group behind brazen thefts of luxury watches. 

According to Watchfinder UK, more than 6,000 luxury watches were stolen in London in 2022. Victims are often robbed as they emerge from restaurants and pubs in upscale neighborhoods.

According to an investigative piece in the National, these thieves are part of an international network operating from North Africa to France and onward to the UK. 

“Mafias formed by third-generation immigrants in France are very well-organized,” a retired Algerian police officer told The National.  

“They often use young immigrants from Algeria who find themselves in a desperate situation as battering rams to commit their crimes,” he said.

European gangs have been involved in similar crimes. Law enforcement sources told the National they are wary of attributing crimes to specific nationalities.

London’s Metropolitan Police has taken proactive measures. They include deploying undercover officers wearing luxury watches to bait and apprehend offenders. This has reportedly resulted in a 50 percent reduction in watch theft incidents during the year 2023.

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