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Romanian Couple Use Six Year-Old Son To Steal £67,000 Watch From Harrods

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Romanian Couple Use Six Year-Old Son To Steal £67,000 Watch From Harrods

A Romanian couple managed to steal a watch worth £67,000 ($86,000) from Harrods - with the help of a six-year-old boy.

A court heard how 33-year-old partners Ilie Para and Marta Para-Bloj scoped out the up-market retailer in Knightsbridge, London and took pictures of the Royal Offshore Oak 18 carat rose gold watch that they ultimately stole.

They then returned to the store five days later on 19 September with their six-year-old son and managed to swap the expensive wrist watch when the sales assistant's back was turned, replacing it with a replica they had hidden in the boy's hood.

They were arrested after being stopped by police a few days later in their black Audi at the port of Dover, where they were attempting to go home.

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Prosecutor Dominic Hockley explained how they honed in on their target, explaining to the court: "They walked around the store going through numerous watch boutiques and they eventually settled on the AP concession stand."

Credit: Central News
Credit: Central News

In what was described during the trial as a 'reconnaissance mission', they asked to try the display version of the watch.

Mr Hockley continued: "Ilie Para tried a few of those watches and then proceeded to take his photo and photograph one particular watch at all angles.

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"They then departed Harrods in the same vehicle.

"When they found the watch they were interested in they took photographs, no doubt intending to obtain a realistic replica.

"We say this has shown planning and sophistication."

The heist itself took five days later as the couple returned with their son, and proceeded to try on a number of watches - including the 18-carat rose gold Royal Oak - under the supervision of a sales assistant.

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After saying they weren't interested in the other watches, the trade was made and the fake from the boy's hood was exchanged.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Mr Hockley explained: "When the sales assistant took the other watches and placed them back in the stacks, Mr Para took off the genuine watch he had been trying on and swapped it with a fake.

"He immediately placed the fake watch on the display tray. Mrs Para-Bloj moved the watches on the display around to give the impression they were still looking at watches."

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They then said they needed more time to think about buying the remaining watch and exited the store.

However, although the sales assistant who'd dealt with the pair had been oblivious to the swap, it was spotted by a colleague who noticed the fake watch had no serial number and a different dial.

After watching video footage of the theft in court, the presiding Judge Michael Grieve commented: "It seems to me on the CCTV the child was crying and ready to leave but leaned forward when the father reached out."

Ultimately the couple admitted the theft and have been remanded in custody ahead of sentencing on 14 December at Southwark Crown Court.

Featured Image Credit: Central News

Topics: UK News, crime

Simon Catling
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