Ram raiders burst into Tiffany’s luxury jewellery shop in Chelsea and made off with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of gems, writes Laurie Churchman.
In a brazen pre-dawn heist on Friday, April 26, the thieves ploughed a van into the shop front so accomplices on mopeds could dart in and make off with fistfuls of jewels.
Police are still hunting for the suspects. Officers called to the jeweller’s flagship Sloane Square store shortly before 3am found the raiders’ white Ford Transit van ditched at the scene.
Below the broken display window, the thieves’ footprints were crystal-clear in the crushed glass. Police identified one trail left by Nike Air Force trainers and another by Air Max 97s.
Detective Inspector David Watkinson described the robbery as ‘brazen and targeted’ and said a ‘significant amount’ had been stolen. “Although the incident took place overnight, it is a busy, well-lit area,” he said.
“We are particularly keen to hear from passing motorists who may have captured what took place on dash-cam footage.”
Signs of the break-in were still visible later that day. Brickwork around the shop window had been knocked through, and the pavement below was scraped and dented.
Inside the shop, shattered glass cabinets could be seen through the protective grille. On the door, a note read: ‘Tiffany & Co Sloane Square will remain closed today due to unforeseen events.’
An employee at next-door clothing shop J. Crew, who did not wish to be named, passed the crime scene on his way to work.
He said: “The van was being pulled from the window when I walked past. The road was closed and you could see police had taped the place off. “We were just rubbernecking when we got in.
The van hit the reinforced panels on the bottom right and the window bent inward. That must be how the moped drivers got at the jewels. “But it’s so high profile and such high security I’m surprised they got away with anything at all.”
The jeweller would not reveal the value of what had been taken. An employee at their Mayfair store in Bond Street explained that Tiffany’s cheapest diamond ring costs around £1,000.
Above that, she said, ‘the sky’s the limit’. It is not the first break-in at Tiffany’s.
In 2005, a thief was killed in a high-speed chase after police ambushed a gang at the same branch. The criminals were using a 4×4 to smash into the shop’s £5m window display.
Established as a ‘fancy goods emporium’ in New York in 1837, Tiffany & Co’s reputation for luxury was cemented in Truman Capote’s novel Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the film starring Audrey Hepburn. Her character Holly Golightly stares at diamonds through the shop window.
“Nothing very bad could happen to you are there,” she says. “Not with those kind men in their nice suits, and that lovely smell of silver and alligator wallets.”