Thieves Are Stealing Rolexes and Pateks From Diners at N.Y.C.’s High-End Restaurants

New York City diners may have to worry about something a little more serious than snagging that coveted table.

In recent months, thieves have been stealing luxury watches and phones from customers at fine-dining restaurants in the city, The New York Times reported on Friday. While it’s unclear if the robberies are connected, they all follow a similar pattern: Two men, one with a gun, take the items from diners and then leave quickly, usually on a dirt bike or a moped.

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The first such incident happened at Marlow & Sons in Williamsburg on May 31, the publication said. Two men were approached by another man with a gun outside the restaurant, where he demanded their watches. After grabbing their Rolex and Audemars Piguet, worth $40,000 together, he fled with another person. Three weeks later, a similar robbery occurred at Carbone, where two men stole a $100,000 Patek Philippe at gunpoint.

A mere three days later, thieves entered the dining room of Williamsburg’s Birds of a Feather, where they took three watches and two phones from a group of men. And then last Thursday, two people took a watch and a purse from a man and woman on the street in Greenpoint. (Major Food Group, the hospitality company behind Carbone, did not respond to the New York Times’s request for comment. A representative for Marlow & Sons declined to comment to the newspaper.)

Following the robbery, the owners of Birds of a Feather told the Times that they’re working to upgrade the restaurant’s surveillance system, and that they might even hire a security guard. But despite restaurants and their clientele seemingly being targeted, those in the industry want to reassure diners that it’s okay to dine out in New York.

“There’s more than 25,000 restaurants across the city of New York with millions of people eating out all the time without incident,” Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, told The New York Times. “People should not be worried about going out to eat.”

The fact that the thieves are taking watches is part of a larger trend in recent years: High-end timepieces have become a big target for robbers. One report from last year found that more than $1 billion worth of luxury watches has been reported stolen or missing. Rolexes are one of the most common brands taken by thieves, while Pateks are also in high demand—as evidenced by the recent thefts in New York.

If you haven’t insured your watch already, now may be a good time to do so.

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