ROBBERS who stalked a luxury watch dealer through Selfridges before ripping a £30,000 timepiece from his wrist have been locked up.
Joseph Alqara-Fares and Mohamed Mahdani, who had both arrived in the UK just days before, and a third unknown man followed Mike Wood as he left the central London store into Portman Square on December 11.
They pinned him against railings and snatched the £31,200 Audemars Piguet watch. Algerian Alqara-Fares and Palestinian Mahdani, both 23, were arrested when they returned to the shop a week later. The 18-carat Royal Oak rose gold watch has not been found.
Jailing the pair, Judge Martin Griffith said it was ‘suspicious’ they had arrived in the country days before.
‘This was a very slick attack and the three of you clearly knew what you were doing,’ he said. ‘If there were any problems a fourth man was on the scene just in case.
‘CCTV shows how you trailed him, including a fourth man in reserve. In my experience robbers in London do not steal Swatch watches or watches with Mickey Mouse on the front.’
They were arrested at Selfridges on December 17 after security guards, who had viewed CCTV with Mr Wood, identified them walking around the store.
Mr Wood, owner of The Old Watch Shop in Southport, Merseyside, was at Southwark crown court to see Mahdani jailed for three years and Alqara-Fares for three years and two months. The pair, of no fixed address, both admitted robbery.