Did this couple really just use a six-year-old to steal an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore?Zach Blass
Look, we get it. Waitlists are frustrating, and watches are commanding higher values and premiums than ever before. But this has to be a new low. A Romanian couple has been caught red-handed, or rose-gold handed, attempting to steal a Royal Oak Offshore in rose gold from Audemars Piguet worth £67,000 GBP from venerated department store Harrods in the United Kingdom.
According to the report, Ilie Para and Marta Para-Bloj, both 33, scoped out a particular model to steal from the Knightsbridge retailer, going so far as to take extensive photos of the watch to help them source a faithful enough replica to attempt to swap during a showing from a sales representative. Like Indiana Jones placing stone in place of the temple idol, the duo felt that with an ultra-realistic replica they would be able to fool the sales clerk long enough to escape the store and country to return home with the watch.
So, how did they pull it off? According to the Metro.co.uk report, “When the sales assistant turned her back to them, Para swapped the £67,400 timepiece with a ‘convincing’ replica hidden in the child’s hood, Southwark Crown Court heard.” Under the guise of returning to buy the watch as a present for the woman’s father, the couple made their six-year-old child an accomplice by using the young boy’s hood to hide the replica timepiece until a moment arose to make a quick swap — unbeknownst to the store employee.
The Metro report claims the swap was not recognised until the following day, “The sales assistant was ‘oblivious’ to the swap but the next day a colleague noticed the watch’s dial was different and it was missing its serial number … The authorities were alerted and the pair were stopped at the port of Dover with Para wearing the watch on his left wrist, their London address having been cleared of their belongings.”
To get the full scoop, click here, and retailers – beware all customers bearing children in hoodies.