National Jeweler Network

Market Developments

Rolex smash-and-grab robberies on the rise

By Hannah Connorton

August 29, 2014

Neenah, Wis.--Crimes involving thieves using the smash-and-grab technique to nab Rolex watches have been increasing as of late, with nearly 10 reported incidents taking place across the country just this summer, according to Jewelers Mutual.

On June 23, criminals carried hammers into a Missouri jewelry store and smashed cases to take the high-end timepieces. A month later, armed robbers stole 40 Rolex watches from a jewelry store in southern California, and a few days after that on the opposite side of the country, thieves in a Massachusetts jewelry store shattered cases and escaped with 32 timepieces from the brand.

According to Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co., the most recent incident occurred Tuesday when thieves entered a Virginia jewelry store, smashed three showcases and made off with 27 Rolex watches.

“Because a geographic pattern relating to these incidents is not evident, we are advising jewelry businesses in all areas to be on high alert. If you carry high-end watches in your inventory, you are a target,” Jewelers Mutual said.

The insurance company has provided jewelers with safety and security tips to help deter smash-and-grab crimes, some of which are listed below.

Consider hiring a guard, preferably an off-duty armed police officer. Use an unpredictable schedule to deter criminal activity, and station extra staff near the Rolex display at your store.

Display high-value merchandise away from the exit. Luxury watches, large-carat jewelry items and other high-value pieces should be distributed among several cases located as far as possible from any exit. As an additional precaution, arrange obstacles such as other showcases or furniture between high-end merchandise and exits.

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Use burglary-resistant glazing material for your high-end showcases. The material should be applied to the tops and sides of the cases.

Use a private showing room. When possible, consider showing high-value, high-target merchandise in a private showing room. These rooms should have excellent surveillance coverage. Also, consider involving a manager or another sales associate when showing items of more than a certain value.

Become a member of any local crime prevention network. Stay ahead of crime by sharing alerts with other jewelry businesses in your area.

A full list of tips can be found on the Jewelers Mutual website.