NEW YORK — Two suspects have been placed in custody by the New York Police Department following Thursday’s Cartier robbery on Fifth Avenue, during which thieves made away with $709,000 worth of watches.
According to the NYPD, five males entered the flagship Thursday at 12:35 p.m. All were wearing gloves, with at least two individuals donning facemasks. Three of the suspects carried ball-peen hammers, which were used to smash watch counters within the store. A total of 16 watches were removed. On Friday afternoon, the NYPD confirmed that two suspects were currently in custody.
Cartier issued a statement acknowledging the events. “Cartier can confirm that the Fifth Avenue boutique was a victim of a smash and grab style burglary. The incident happened on Jan. 30 at 12:30 p.m. and no one was harmed.” No further comment was given. While the investigation continues, it remains unclear whether the incident will prompt increased security measures. “The story is very straightforward,” said Tom Cusick, president of the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District (BID). “There is nothing, I think, that they could have done without putting their people in jeopardy.” The BID works to keep the area, which spans from 46th Street to 61st Street, “clean, safe and welcoming.”
“We deal with issues outside on the sidewalk,” said Cusick. “We don’t deal with internal security of retailers or property owners — it’s just impossible to do that. That will all have to be determined by Cartier as to how they’re going to have to handle that.” The Cartier robbery is the latest in a string of high-profile jewel thefts around the world. In July 2013, Cannes saw a series of similar attacks, including the mid-day robbery of luxury watch store Kronometry, in which a reported 50 watches were stolen.
Immediately following the incident, the area received extra police reinforcement, with an increased presence patrolling the strip. The local police department also called for the creation of a “Comité Croisette.” Modeled after the Comité Vendôme, formed in 1936 to implement security awareness in Paris’ Place Vendome, the organization aims to gather local luxury players on the Croisette and provide a platform to communicate with government officials, including local police.
Meanwhile, London’s Metropolitan Police appealed for witnesses and information on Friday after armed robbers stole watches worth an estimated 500,000 pounds, or around $826,000, from the Watches of Switzerland store on Oxford Street Thursday evening. The police said that three men entered the store armed with firearms and threatened staff members. After stealing the watches, the robbers, who were dressed in hooded tops with their faces covered, then fled on foot. The police said that no arrests have yet been made and that enquiries into the incident continue. A representative for Watches of Switzerland, which carries watch brands including Baume & Mercier, Cartier, IWC and Rolex, declined to comment on the incident.