Rolex dealer found dead day after being put in a headlock during robbery in London

Victim, identified as Oliver White, had recently returned from holiday in the UAE when violent theft took place in Richmond, south-west London

The Metropolitan Police released images of two men they want to locate following a robbery at a jewellers in Richmond this weekend. Metropolitan Police
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A luxury watch dealer has been found dead the day after he was attacked by thieves during a robbery at a store in south-west London.

Two unarmed men stole a number of high-value watches from the shop in Richmond, on Saturday, police said.

CCTV footage from the incident appears to show a worker being put in a chokehold during the raid before the thieves made off with an undisclosed number of timepieces.

Police said the victim of the robbery, named on social media as Oliver White, was found dead in Shepperton, Surrey, on Sunday. His death is not being treated as suspicious.

Mr White's girlfriend, Alana Dredge, paid tribute to her partner and revealed that they had recently returned from a trip to the UAE.

She wrote: “My darling boy I can’t believe you’re gone. This was only two weeks ago and now I’ll never see you again.

“The last thing you said to me was I love you. I will cherish you forever, being with you was the best six years of my life.

“I hope you are reading this from up there, I will continue to make you proud.”

Mr White was reportedly involved with the 247 Kettles luxury watch dealership, described online as an independent jewellers that sells 'authentic pre-owned watches and jewellery'.

It was previously targeted by thieves in 2021 when they stole watches valued at £500,000 ($600,000), according to reports.

CCTV footage showed the thieves running up the fire escape stairs to the first floor before breaking through a 300kg wooden security door.

They then broke into the dealership and took off with a 750kg safe that contained valuable watches that had not been insured.

The UK continues to be hit by the so-called “Rolex Ripper” crime wave which has seen the number of stolen watches nearly double between 2015 and 2022, to 11,035, according to figures from Watchfinder UK.

The stolen watch database shows that last year there was a 56 per cent surge in thefts in the UK capital, with 6,000 watches stolen.

Surrey Police said officers were called to a location in Shepperton shortly after 8.15pm on Sunday following a report of a concern for safety.

“A man in his 20s was sadly pronounced dead at the scene,” the force said. “His next of kin are aware and are being supported.

“Inquiries are still ongoing, but his death is not thought to be suspicious.”

On Saturday, the Metropolitan Police released images of two men they wish to locate following the robbery and said the staff member had not been seriously injured.

In the images, one man wears a grey hoodie while the other wears a black and white T-shirt with sunglasses on his head.

Police said on Tuesday that no arrests had been made.

The force asked anyone with information to call 101, quoting incident number CAD4555/25May, or to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Updated: May 28, 2024, 4:57 PM