Women posing as charity fundraisers are stealing Rolex watches from older men at golf clubs and posh supermarkets in England.
The so-called “Rolex rippers” use distraction techniques and sleight of hand to slip the watch from their victim’s wrist as they offer a hug of gratitude or find a pretext to hold their arm.
Police say almost 70 such crimes were reported last year, and suspect many more victims may have been too embarrassed to contact them.
One victim who did report such a theft is Jim Dey, 74. He told The Times he was approached by a woman at a golf course, asking him to sign a petition for a deaf charity.
She grabbed his wrist and it was only later that he noticed his $10,000 Rolex – a retirement gift from an oil company – was missing.
The women culprits, usually operating in pair, target wealthy, older men who are likely to be wearing expensive watches.
A police spokesman in Hampshire said: “They often use a clipboard as a prop to appear genuine. Victims are predominantly targeted because they are wearing high value Rolex watches.”