A Japanese businessman didn't know that offering a stranger a cigarette would cost him his £700,000 watch.
An investigating source told British newspaper the Daily Mail that the theft occurred on Monday outside the Hotel Napoleon, the "palace" next to the world-famous Arc de Triomphe monument.
"A Japanese businessman was smoking outside with a friend, when he was approached by a man in a Parka-style coat, who asked for a cigarette," the source said. When the watch owner put his hand out, the thief ripped off the businessman's Richard Mille Tourbillon Diamond Twister watch and ran away.
|Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons|
The Daily Mail reports that police said the scene was caught on video and that the thug dropped his mobile phone nearby—which could help authorities identify and arrest the attacker, the investigating source said. They added that the victim was not identified but was aged 30.
The incident came at a time when a series of similar crimes have been occurring throughout the French capital. This prompted the police to issue a warning to visitors wearing costly wristwatches. Detectives are blaming online crime tutorials for the surge of thefts, particularly of watches that are worth thousands of pounds.
|Photo Credit: CNN (via Daily Mail UK)|
According to the Britsh newspaper, thieves in the Paris suburbs are applying the techniques typically used by Italian and Russian gangs. This practice resulted in 71 thefts of watches worth a total of £2 million reported in Paris for the first eight months of the year—which represents a 28 percent increase in the number of luxury watches stolen compared with 2018 records.
Aside from asking for a cigarette or the time, thieves also bump into car wing mirrors while onboard a scooter, prompting the driver to stick their hand out as they straighten the mirrors.
"Our advice to anyone with an expensive watch is to keep it well covered up in public, and not to show it off in bars or restaurants," a Paris police source said.