A pair of female thieves posing as reps for a charity have been prowling upscale golf courses in southern England, swiping Rolexes from the wrists of wealthy older men.
Police say the thieves are dark-haired women in their 20s or 30s with "Eastern European accents" who have reportedly robbed 14 golfers at posh UK golf courses.
The pair has been dubbed the "Rolex Rippers" and they seem to focus on men in their 70s or older. The Guardian describes how they pull off the scam:
Victims have described two women posing as charity workers with clipboards who have stolen watches from their victims without them realizing as they sign a petition.
On other occasions they have been less subtle and simply ripped the watches off the wrists of men, who have been left shocked and bruised.
The British news outlet described the experience of Alan Bruce, 63, who was robbed of his Rollie while he was just walking down the street.
Bruce said one woman "had a clipboard and the taller one was making out she was deaf and they wanted signatures for a petition for a new deaf center."
Bruce said he signed on the dotted line with his left hand—his watch-wearing arm— "and one of them then grabbed hold of me and went to hug me."
Alan Bruce wasn't fooled and he said he "straight away put my hand on my pocket where my wallet was and pushed her off and walked away. I walked around the corner and realized they had taken my watch. By the time I went back they had gone."
Police believe the women have committed more than 14 robberies when similar crimes in nearby jurisdictions are factored in.
The Guardian notes that the women are described as being "between 5ft 2in and 5ft 9in tall" and both "have dark hair and Eastern European accents although some victims have believed them to be Spanish."
Safe to say that in the United Kingdom, where few private citizens are armed, this is the kind of crime that could happen again.
Similar attempts on golf courses in America might end very badly for all, considering how many Americans are packing a piece, even on the links.
Still, it might be a good time for older golfers in the UK to follow law enforcement advice and leave the Rollie safely at home, maybe find a much less expensive substitute for when they hit the links. Just in case.