Moment mugger strips luxury watch off US tourist’s wrist in front of his family in Barcelona

Moment Barcelona mugger snatched $45,000 designer watch off American father’s wrist in front of his family near their five-star hotel: Victim told cops it was an $800,000 Hublot

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This is the moment a mugger stripped a luxury watch off an American tourist’s wrist in front of his family in Barcelona, with cops valuing the timepiece at $45,000 (£37,000) – days after the man reportedly told them it was worth $800,000 (£685,000).

The tourist – who was not named by Spanish police – was walking through the city’s central Gothic Quarter with his young family when a mugger snuck up behind him and clawed the watch from his arm.

The American told police the timepiece was snatched off his wrist just after 2pm on Tuesday near the five-star Mercer Hotel where he is believed to have been staying.

The tourist first filed a complaint with the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police) valuing his watch at $800,000 (£685,000). But after carrying out their own checks police lowered the valuation to $45,000 (£36,870), Catalan newspaper El Periódico reported.

It’s not clear why police lowered the value of the watch. 

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This is the moment a thug rips a $45,000 watch off a tourist’s wrist while he is walking through the centre of Barcelona with his young family

This is the moment a thug rips a $45,000 watch off a tourist’s wrist while he is walking through the centre of Barcelona with his young family

 CCTV footage of the lightning-quick robbery shows the unsuspecting American walking through an alley as a man runs up behind him and seizes his arm.

As the thief swings his victim around with one hand, he rips away the watch with the other and runs away leaving the family dumbfounded.

The footage shows the tourist with his partner and three young children at the time of the mugging. As the man is grabbed he stumbles backwards about to fall, but is able to steady himself – only to watch the man run off with his watch.

Unconfirmed local reports first identified the watch as a Swiss-made Hublot’s Black Caviar Bang, which features hundreds of precision-cut black diamonds. The limited-edition watch has a $1 million price tag in the United States and takes more than 2,000 hours to finish from the the design stage.

However, reports said it was later revealed to be a less valuable version of the model, with Hublot making a range of ‘Bang’ watches worth tens-of-thousands of dollars. After the initial report, regional Mossos d’Esquadra police force said they were unable to confirm what type of watch had been taken.

Pictured: CCTV footage showing the thief (far-right) sneaking up behind an American tourist (in the red polo shirt) before swiping his watch and running back off down the street

As the thief swung his victim around with one hand, he ripped away the watch with the other and ran away – leaving the young family dumbfounded

It appeared the tourist was with his partner and three young children (shown together left) at the time of the mugging. As the man was mugged he stumbled backwards about to fall, but was able to steady himself only to watch the man run off with his expensive watch

The tourist first filed a complaint with the Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan police) valuing his watch at $800,000. But after carrying out their own checks police lowered the valuation to $45,000. Pictured: A base model of the Hublot Black Caviar Bang watch
Hublot has produced a limited-edition Black Caviar Bang with a $1 million price tag in the United States and takes over 2,000 hours to finish from the the design stage.  However, the watch that was stolen was worth $45,000. Pictured: A Black Caviar watch worth $45,000

The tourist first filed a complaint with the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police) valuing his watch at $800,000. But after carrying out their own checks police lowered the valuation to $45,000. Pictured: A base model of the Hublot Black Caviar Bang watch (left), and another worth $45,000 (right)

But a spokesman said at the time: ‘I can confirm we are investigating the violent theft of a designer watch worth $800,000 following a complaint from a tourist.

‘The person who reported the crime said he was surrounded by a gang of muggers who snatched the watch off his wrist. The incident reported happened around 2.20pm on Tuesday. No arrests have yet been made.’

The CCTV footage – released after the police statement – appeared to contradict the initial reports, showing just one man mugging the tourist.

One local report said the mugging victim was returning to his hotel for a siesta after lunch at a nearby restaurant when he was targeted.

He has told the police he believes his assailants were of North African origin.

The theft occurred in Lledo Street, in Barcelona’s charming Gothic Quarter, which has narrow medieval streets filled with trendy bars, clubs and restaurants and is always teeming with holidaymakers.

The police spokesman said: ‘The man who reported his watch had been stolen was slightly hurt but they were minor injuries.’

The theft occurred in this spot on Lledo Street, in Barcelona's charming Gothic Quarter, which has narrow medieval streets filled with trendy bars, clubs and restaurants and is always teeming with holidaymakers

The theft occurred in this spot on Lledo Street, in Barcelona’s charming Gothic Quarter, which has narrow medieval streets filled with trendy bars, clubs and restaurants and is always teeming with holidaymakers

The American told police the timepiece was snatched off his wrist just after 2pm on Tuesday near the five-star Mercer Hotel (pictured) where he is believed to have been staying

The American told police the timepiece was snatched off his wrist just after 2pm on Tuesday near the five-star Mercer Hotel (pictured) where he is believed to have been staying

The city centre of Barcelona has a reputation for its high crime rate, which is caused predominantly by thefts and robberies on its streets. According to the Barcelona Field Study Centre, the capital of Catalonia saw 40 crimes per 100 inhabitants in 2016 - a figure that is inflated by the number of visitors who are robbed

The city centre of Barcelona has a reputation for its high crime rate, which is caused predominantly by thefts and robberies on its streets. According to the Barcelona Field Study Centre, the capital of Catalonia saw 40 crimes per 100 inhabitants in 2016 – a figure that is inflated by the number of visitors who are robbed

Earlier this week a middle-aged man was filmed as his watch was snatched from his wrist in the centre of Barcelona while no one lifted a finger to help.

The local police warned the public to be careful with their personal belongings during the summer months as more people visit the city and crime rates increase significantly.

The authorities also said such crimes have increased since the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and that the Mossos d’Esquadra have created a special unit dedicated to curbing them.

The city centre of Barcelona has a reputation for its high crime rate, which is caused predominantly by thefts and robberies on its streets.

According to the Barcelona Field Study Centre, the capital of Catalonia saw 40 crimes per 100 inhabitants in 2016, with the number being inflated by tourists.

The website said that during 2016, there were a total of 40,822 crimes in Ciutat Vella and El Raval (Barcelona’s two central quarters) – of which 93 percent were thefts and robberies on public streets.

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