Buckhead bar patron loses $40K watch in latest nightlife robbery scheme

Victim accepted ride from woman he just met, police report says
A man had his $40,000 Audemars Piguet watch stolen after leaving Johnny’s Hideaway on Roswell Road, police said.

A man had his $40,000 Audemars Piguet watch stolen after leaving Johnny’s Hideaway on Roswell Road, police said.

Despite explicit warnings from Atlanta police, partiers in Buckhead continue to fall victim to costly schemes and robberies. In one of the latest cases, a man accepted a ride from a woman he met at Johnny’s Hideaway and was robbed of his $40,000 Audemars Piguet watch after being dropped off at the Ritz-Carlton Residences, police said.

The victim, a man with a Florida address, “appeared to be very intoxicated” when officers responded to the robbery call April 28 around 2:30 a.m., according to the incident report. The man told police he’d gone to Johnny’s Hideaway on Roswell Road around 1 a.m., where he met a woman who eventually offered him a ride home, the report said.

The man got into the woman’s car, a dark-colored Tesla, which was already occupied by another man, the report said. When they arrived at the condominium building at 3630 Peachtree Road, all three of them exited the car and the unknown man and woman demanded the victim’s watch, according to police.

When the victim refused, the suspects assaulted him and took the watch by force, then drove away, police said. Officers confirmed his account by getting security video stills from the building’s surveillance system.

Based on partial information about the suspects’ car, police used traffic cameras to try to track it down. They determined three possible tag numbers, all of which were registered to Hertz Car Rental.

The case echoes many others in Buckhead in recent years, according to a raft of police reports obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier this year. In most instances, a drunken victim is taken advantage of by suspects who offer them a ride home or who pose as rideshare drivers. The AJC reviewed at least 10 similar cases originating at Johnny’s Hideaway and many others mentioning popular Buckhead bars like the Ivy and Five Paces Inn.

Victims, some of whom believe they were drugged, often wake up the next day missing money or property, with only hazy memories of the incident. Suspects are able to break into victims’ cellphones by using facial recognition on the passed-out owner, then transfer thousands of dollars out of their accounts with services like Venmo and Zelle.

These cases tend to be difficult to solve, especially when victims have difficulty recalling details and suspects are able to isolate their targets away from witnesses.

“With many of these incidents occurring inside a crowded establishment, or without the victim initially being aware, it is a challenge for law enforcement alone to address these thefts before they occur,” police told the AJC earlier this year.