2 arrested in series of thefts of Rolexes and other high-end watches across L.A. area

An LAPD detective and a man with a watch and gold chain on the table
An LAPD detective returns jewelry to a recent victim of a brazen armed robbery.
(Los Angeles Police Department)

Los Angeles police detectives have arrested two men in connection with a string of armed robberies across the region targeting people wearing Rolexes and other high-end watches, officials said.

The two, who police think are part of a larger, organized crew, were arrested Thursday after authorities linked them to three armed robberies on the Westside.

Investigators did not say whether the men are suspected in the theft of a $500,000 watch last week in Beverly Hills. In that brazen daylight robbery, the assailants grabbed a gold Richard Mille watch that was being worn by a jeweler outside an upscale restaurant, and a female bystander was shot during the struggle.

Jeweler Shay Belhassen said he is offering a $50,000 reward for the return of the watch. He doubts it will hit the market quickly, in part because the robbery drew so much attention.


Law enforcement sources told The Times that Beverly Hills investigators think they have one of the robbers’ DNA, shed during the struggle with the jeweler, which they’ll try to trace and match to other armed robbery cases

Detectives from the Wilshire and Pacific divisions, who were involved in the arrests, also recovered one of the stolen Rolexes and returned it to its owner.

Investigators are continuing to pursue what they describe as “multiple leads in an effort to apprehend additional suspects.” The suspects arrested this week were not immediately identified.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore said that a trend of robberies targeting high-end watches in Mar Vista, Venice, Mid-Wilshire, the Melrose shopping district, Culver City, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills is part of a broader uptick in robberies, more of which are ending in gunfire. In a Jan. 30 incident caught on camera, two attackers jumped out of a white sedan near Melrose Avenue and North Vista Street and tackled a man before stealing his watch.