Oct 24, 2007
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Scooter thieves strike top London shops

Oct 24, 2007

LONDON, Oct 24, 2007 (AFP) - Criminals riding scooters have made a string of smash-and-grab raids on top London designer stores, police said Wednesday, October 23th, after a pre-dawn attack on another shop.

Criminals riding scooters have made a string of smash-and-grab raids on top London designer stores after a pre-dawn attack on another shop
Photo : AFP

Thieves smashed in the glass door of the Sonia Rykiel boutique in Brook Street, off the main Oxford Street shopping thoroughfare, early Wednesday morning before fleeing when they were disturbed by a police patrol car.

London's Evening Standard newspaper said there had been at least 35 such raids in the last six months, with Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Anya Hinmarch, Roger and Pope, Luella Bartley, Brora cashmere store, Roger Vivier and Avakian among the boutiques hit.

"Two scooters, each carrying two suspects, forced access to the front of the premises," a spokesman for London's Metropolitan Police told AFP Wednesday.

"Both pillion passengers entered the shop and removed a number of high-quality and high-value handbags. Both vehicles were then driven from the scene.

"All the suspects were described as wearing casual streetwear and crash helmets.

"It is a line of enquiry as to whether this is linked to similar offences."

Last year, a thief on a scooter died following a raid on jeweller Tiffany's while being pursued by police.

"We are mounting patrols to deter these raids but it is impossible to predict where or when they will happen," Chief Superintendent Dean Ingledew, head of police operations in Westminster, told the Evening Standard daily.

"We are following forensic leads and are hopeful we will get something from this morning's incident.

"The difficulty is in identifying those involved because they are wearing motorcycle helmets. They also use a variety of vehicles, many of which are stolen."

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