A trio of masked men smashed through cabinets in The Watch Gallery at Selfridges in Manchester last night and escaped with £500,000 of luxury watches in 80 seconds.
The raid took place at 7.25pm last night while the store on the city’s Exchange Square was still open. The three men were armed with axes and were wearing high visibility clothing and black balaclavas.
The thieves stole 100 watches from brands including Audermars Piguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Cartier that Greater Manchester Police believe are worth £500,000 in total. Detective Constable Adam Cronshaw added that the gang had been “very particular about the watches they selected”.
A fourth member of the gang was waiting outside the store in a black Mercedes to spirit the gang away. The car was later found abandoned.
The crime spree lasted just 80 seconds and Cronshaw described it as well planned and executed.
He added: “This was a brazen robbery while the store was open and busy with members of the public. The offenders will, at some point, undoubtedly look to offload these watches and I would urge people to be mindful of this robbery and again if anyone is approached with a view to buying any of these items to please contact us."
A statement from The Watch Gallery said: "We can confirm that three men stole watches from the Watch Gallery of our Manchester Exchange Square store on Wednesday, 19 September just before 7.30pm. Thankfully, no one was injured. We are currently in full cooperation with the police and their investigation."
The value of the stolen watches was previously reported by Greater Manchester Police to be worth £1 million but this evening the force has re-estimated this to bring it down to £500,000.