The shimmer of the French Riviera has grown a little lacklustre thanks to a well-organized gang of thieves who have a penchant for ripping luxury watches off the wrists of wealthy vacationers.
The scheme involves thieves on two scooters. Thought to be from Italy, they start by scouring the beaches and restaurants for affluent vacationers. Next, they follow them to their cars from a distance.
When the driver is ready to go, one scooter will speed by the car, clipping the outside rear view mirror. While the driver reaches his or her left hand out to fix it, the second scooter pulls up and violently rips the watch off the wearer’s wrist. They then take off, with the agility of their versatile, two-wheeled getaways an impossible match for a car.
“We are faced with an operation that is structured and organized,” said Jean-Michel Cailliau, the chief public prosecutor in the area. “We will be putting significant resources into the cross-border investigation.”
The heists center around Cannes, near France’s border with Italy. Victims of the heists include a Russian businessman who was robbed of a $637,000 Richard Mille and a victim whose $70,000 unidentified watch was stolen as he was about to go driving in his Ferrari.