Thanks — but no thanks!
A pair of discriminating thieves in Italy robbed a watch from a Swiss tourist, only to return the timepiece moments later after realizing it was a cheap knockoff.
Footage shows two tourists enjoying a drink just before midnight July 17 at the bustling Piazza Trieste e Trento in Naples, where a mugger accosted them at gunpoint and demanded that one of them turn over their watch.
Minutes later, another man appears, returns the pilfered watch to its startled owner and apologizes to him, the footage shows.
The astonishing exchange took place at Monidee Café, where the owner said he believes the bold thief returned the watch because it wasn’t worth the effort, since it wasn’t a Swiss-made Richard Mille, CNN reported.
“They brought it back saying, ‘Sorry, sorry,’ maybe as an attempt to get him not to report it,” co-owner Antonio Visconti told the network.
The would-be robbers thought the man’s watch was worth $307,000, according to Francesco Emilio Borrelli, a councilor for the Campania region for the Europa Verde party.
The piazza where the heist occurred has long been plagued by crime and has lately become a place where people illegally park after dark, Borrelli said.
“I’ve been reporting the problems in that piazza for some time, but there’s no surveillance,” he told CNN. “It’s one of the least safe areas of the city, and it should be one of the safest.”
Droves of “delinquent youths on scooters” make life miserable for residents and tourists alike — and don’t make any effort to disguise their identities, Borrelli said.
“They don’t care,” he continued. “They’re using a pistol at 13, 14 years old — the guy who did this knew how to use it, he even pointed it at the head of the Swiss tourist.”
The shameless thieves steal watches to resell them “immediately,” but someone realized the latest score was ersatz, Borrelli said.
“So, knowing the law, they sent another kid to return it,” he said. “Because they know the bars there have CCTV, and they know that images were recorded. And in front of the law, to have brought the watch back means a much lighter punishment. Because they’ve committed the robbery, but they did bring back the property.”
Visconti said the incident is “bad publicity” for Naples.
“For years, we’ve been saying the same things — we need a social pact, we need to reboot our sector,” he told CNN. “We are not used to this kind of violence, but we suffer aggression every day. We are waging a war against this kind of thing, but we are on our own.”
The targeted tourist, meanwhile, finished his drink and didn’t seem too shaken up by the frightening experience.
“He said, ‘What a great adventure,’” Visconti recalled.