Smash-and-grab raiders target Hampstead and Highgate opticians for sunglasses
Audacious thieves have stolen thousands of pounds worth of designer sunglasses in a flurry of smash-and-grab raids on opticians since the start of summer.
The Eye Practice in Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead, last week became the latest shop in Camden and Haringey to fall prey to burglars.
Hooded youths took just minutes to jump out of a car and shatter the window of the Rosslyn Hill shop with crowbars.
They then stole dozens of high-end sunglasses – costing up to £700 a pair – from its display at about 4am on Monday.
They were caught on CCTV but the footage is too dark to make out the identity of the culprits.
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At least four opticians have been targeted for designer frames.
The Eye Practice manager Chris Santos said: “I imagine it’s because it is an easy way to get money, because everyone needs sunglasses coming into summer.
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“A lot of opticians don’t have bars on their windows because we want people to see the stock in the window for passing trade.
“The frustrating thing for me is that the thieves probably don’t have a clue about the products and will probably sell a pair of sunglasses worth £700 for £50.”
Last month, the Ham&High Broadway reported that the owner of Muswell Hill’s Observatory the Opticians, Jonathan Foreman, fought off robbers who broke into his shop to steal designer frames.
He managed to chase the burglars off after being awoken by the noise but not before they had made off with thousands of pounds worth of glasses at about 2am on June 10 from the shop in Muswell Hill Broadway.
Two weeks later, burglars broke down the door of P Leaning Optometrist in Highgate High Street, Highgate Village, to steal its entire stock of designer sunglasses, worth about £3,000.
And about two months ago, Alison Davidson Opticians in Mill Lane, West Hampstead, was raided by youths on motorbikes of its entire stock of designer frames and sunglasses, worth about £20,000.
Rosy Summerbell, manager of P Leaning Optometrist, said she is afraid of restocking the shop with sunglasses for fear it will be targeted again.
“Sunglasses are easy to sell because it’s summer,” she said.
“That’s why opticians are an easy target.
“It’s worrying because we now have to replace them all but then they might just do it again.”
Police are not linking the crimes.
No arrests have yet been made.