A couple was accused of using a 6-year-old boy to carry out their theft at a luxury retailer.
The incident took place in Knightsbridge, London, where 33-year-old Ilie Para and Marta Para-Bloj from Romania robbed a Harrods store located on Brompton Road.
According to the reports, the couple initially visited the prestigious jewelry store to get a closer look at the Royal Oak Offshore watch that is made with 18-carat rose gold and comes at the price of around $87,000.
After taking pictures of the product, the couple reportedly took off. They then returned on September 19 together with a 6-year-old child.
After talking to the assistant about the watch, the couple waited for the employee to turn around before swapping the expensive model with a replica that they had hidden inside the child’s hoodie before entering the store.
Five days after stealing the original watch, the couple was stopped by the police as they were on their way home.
As prosecutor Dominic Hockley explained, the couple committed the theft five days after paying Harrods a visit and enquiring about the rose gold watch.
“They walked around the store going through numerous watch boutiques and they eventually settled on the AP concession stand,” the Southwark Crown Court heard.
“A member of staff brought them the display to try. Ilie Para tried a few of those watches and then proceeded to take his photo and photograph one particular watch at all angles.
“They then departed Harrods in the same vehicle. The Crown say this was plainly a reconnaissance mission. When they found the watch they were interested in they took photographs, no doubt intending to obtain a realistic replica. We say this has shown planning and sophistication.”
After returning to the store five days later, the couple once again asked the assistant to see the watches before confirming that the Royal Oak Offshore watch is the one they wanted.
“The couple said they didn’t like the other watches, they wanted the Royal Oak offshore. When the sales assistant took the other watches and placed them back in the stacks, Mr Para took off the genuine watch he had been trying on and swapped it with a fake,” the prosecutor added.
As the court heard, the fake watch was located in the 6-year-old boy’s hoodie prior to the swap.
While the sales assistant didn’t immediately notice what had happened, her colleague discovered that the watch was fake on the following day.
“It was a convincing fake, but a fake nevertheless,” Hockley said.
The couple reportedly pleaded guilty to the theft. They are set to be sentenced on December 14.