More than 20 designer watches – the majority of them Rolex – were stolen in the capital over the weekend, according to French newspaper Le Parisien.
Some of the watches – the cheapest of which are worth around €4,500 – were stolen in the street, others taken from apartments.
One victim was robbed as she exited a restaurant in an expensive area near the Arc de Triomphe.
She was attacked by several people who ripped the expensive watch off her wrist. A police officer quoted by Le Parisien said these kinds of thefts are done by gangs from the Parisian banlieues who “have understood the value of this business.”
“They will scout bars and nightclubs for alcohol-affected victims, and are only interested in watches that are easily snatched,” the officer said.
The theft is part of an upsurge of burglaries targeting expensive Paris apartments, according to the police source. Over the past years international gangs have specialised in elaborate burglaries where one person climbs the building then opens a window for the rest.
The now popular method was originally inspired by an infamous gang called the Pink Panthers, a Balkan-based gang who excelled in acrobatic break-ins. Watches, but also jewelry and art are popular targets, the policeman said.