Luxury Omega Seamaster
Photo by Teddybaldassarre

Gun Shop Owner Forced to Turn Detective After Watch Stolen and Police Decline to Intervene

Luke Stares, a gun shop owner from Wakefield, was compelled to become an amateur detective after his luxury Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra watch was stolen. The watch, listed for sale on Facebook Marketplace in November 2023, was seemingly purchased by a buyer named ‘James’ who appeared to have made a £5,000 bank transfer at Luke’s home. However, the money never materialized, and Luke soon realized he had been scammed, shared by Yorkshire live.

After contacting the police, Luke was told that his situation was considered a civil matter, not a criminal one. Undeterred, he took matters into his own hands, scouring online marketplaces until he located his watch listed for sale a few weeks later by a jeweler in Portsmouth. His further investigations revealed that the watch had been moved to a jeweler in London’s Hatton Garden, who then returned it to the initial seller after being contacted by Luke.

Despite Luke’s efforts to recover his property, he encountered significant challenges with law enforcement. West Yorkshire Police directed him to contact Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting center. However, Action Fraud indicated that they hadn’t requested a police investigation due to prioritization criteria based on vulnerability and threat.

Luke Stares
Photo by SWNS

Feeling frustrated and let down by the lack of police support, Luke continued to push for a resolution. He engaged with multiple police forces and repeatedly contacted Action Fraud, yet was repeatedly informed that the matter didn’t qualify for a criminal investigation.

Luke’s situation highlights a troubling gap in the support system for victims of property crimes in the UK. Despite his proactive approach and clear evidence of the theft, the response from official channels was dishearteningly inadequate. The ordeal left Luke disillusioned about the effectiveness of the legal protections for personal property, especially in cases that blur the lines between civil and criminal jurisdiction.

This case has brought attention to the challenges individuals face when property is stolen under circumstances that law enforcement deems civil disputes. For Luke, the battle to reclaim his stolen watch continues, underscored by a sense of injustice and frustration at the system’s apparent indifference.

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