Knife-wielding criminals hold employees hostage during robbery.

Quark is a chain of luxury watch stores with branches with more than a dozen branches across Japan, dealing exclusively in new and used high-end Rolex models. Not surprisingly, their flagship store is located in Ginza, the ritzy Tokyo neighborhood known for its brand-name fashion and accessory shopping.

On Monday, though, three men who walked into the Quark’s Ginza branch weren’t looking to buy a timepiece or sell one of their own. Instead, they held the staff hostage while they robbed the place, all while it was still light outside.

▼ Video of the robbery

The robbery occurred at around 6:30 p.m., prior to sundown. Three men entered the store wearing white masks and brandishing knives. No customers were in the shop at the time, but five employees were, and the robbers commanded them to “Get down on the floor, or we’ll kill you.”

The robbers then began smashing the store’s display cases using a metal pipe or crowbar of some sort, stealing over 100 watches (prices for store’s inventory range from 500,000 to 22 million yen [roughly US$3,800 to US$168,000] per watch). The men were inside the building for around 10 minutes, after which they piled into a white van parked in front of Quark’s entrance and sped away.

▼ Quark’s Ginza location

▼ Video of the escape

Such brazen smash-and-grab heists are extremely rare in Japan, especially in upscale districts like Ginza. While no passersby appear to have directly confronted the robbers, ample video evidence allowed the police to track down their car later that night roughly three kilometers (1.9 miles) away in the Akasaka neighborhood, parked on the street near a building that had been broken into. Inside, the police found four men, all of whom they believe to have been involved in the Quark robbery (the fourth, presumably, being the getaway driver) and have been placed under arrest.

▼ The Akasaka building where the car and men were found

No store employees were injured in the incident, and while Japan remains a country with extremely low crime rates, Rolexes, and especially resale Rolexes, seem to hold a strong appeal to scheming criminals. Hopefully the swift apprehension of the men suspected to be the Quark thieves will discourage others from similar schemes.

Source: NHK News Web
Top image: Pakutaso
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