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Staten Island Watch Store Robbed, $2.5 Million in Merchandise Stolen

Jan 12, 2024

A break-in at a high-end watch store on Staten Island was caught on camera, as the video showed the seemingly knowledgeable thieves swipe $2.5 million in merchandise.

The five masked people could be seen in the video moving with purpose, carrying tools to get the job done. A source familiar with the matter said the burglars may have had to cut a whole in the back of the building just to get inside — a surprising note given that the rear of the building is up against a wooded area.

Shortly after getting inside, they easily pried open the door to get to where the goods were stored: an office inside a nondescript building in a strip mall in the Tottenville neighborhood.

"Pelican case, that's something we used in law enforcement all the time. A hard case to their their take in," said former FBI Special Agent Tim Gallagher, who described what tools the robbers had with them. "The hand truck, showing that they're looking to encounter safe — they just take the whole safe with them at that point. Drill it out somewhere else down the line."

"I imagine that this is an organized group, that has gone up and down the East Coast. And by the time the owner realized what happened, they're already three or four states away," said Gallagher, who is now the Chief Security Officer at Investigation Firm Nardello and Company. He said the suspects seen in the video are professionals.

The Memorial Day heist at The Wrist Watcher netted the burglars $2.5 million in luxury watches. They took the safe and the $160,000 in it.

On its website, the store describes itself as a retailer of pre-owned luxury watches. There are clear photos of the pricey inventory featured, including a rose gold chocolate Rolex — the price tag of which was listed at $44,000. Others were listed for more than $40,000 as well.

The Wrist Watcher's Instagram account where they show off their merchandise has 116,000 followers, which Gallagher said may have been an added risk for the business.

"To the business owner, you’re walking a fine line. You want to get as much information out there as you can to bring business in. But at the same time, you’re putting your information out there, which can make you a target," said Gallagher said.

During the pandemic, luxury watch sales surged. But Gallagher said that so have thefts of the pricey time pieces. However, he added that time may not be on the crooks’ side.

"All those devices that were stolen, all those watches — they have numbers all over the inside of them. So when someone buys them and they look to put them into service, it can be recognized where it's from. And that can ultimately give police and the FBI the break they need to bring these actors to justuice, get them off the streets.

In an Instagram post, the owner of the store thanked people for their support, adding that he can't discuss the details of the case due to the ongoing investigation. He did say that he will be bolstering security at the store.