Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc escaped uninjured after being robbed of a $320,000 Richard Mille watch in Italy on Monday night.
According to reports from Italy, the Monegasque was in the Tuscan city of Viareggio on Easter Monday with friends, including his trainer Andrea Ferrari.
They were in the dark Via Salvatori neighbourhood around 10 p.m. when Leclerc was recognised by fans who stopped for photos and signatures.
The World Championship leader complied, but one of the group’s members stole the Richard Mille RM67 ‘Leclerc’ watch from his wrist and fled without being apprehended for the heist.
Richard Mille is a Ferrari team sponsor, but their professional relationship with Leclerc dates back to his younger years. The watch is thought to be worth €300,000 [£249,000], although it has apparently been sold at auction for more than a million Euros.
The fact that the photo has a group element suggests that someone planned to steal the watch. After the thief fled, Leclerc reported the incident to the police, who are currently investigating to see if the heist was opportunistic or planned ahead of time.
Ferrari, Leclerc’s trainer from Viareggio, expressed his displeasure in a social media post on Tuesday.
Ferrari wrote on Instagram about the absence of lighting in the area of town where the crime occurred, which has been a source of concerns from locals for some time.
Ferrari posted: “Via Salvatori has been completely in the dark for months. We have been reporting this for months.
“Well, yesterday evening in Via Salvatori, they have robbed us. Think of arranging the lamps sooner or later? Asking for a friend.”
Leclerc is in Italy for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, which will be held at Imola this weekend.
Leclerc had returned to Monaco following his victory in the Australian Grand Prix, which extended his lead in the Formula One drivers’ title. He was seen at the Monte Carlo Master tennis tournament last week.
However, this is not the first time a Formula One driver has been involved in a similar situation in recent history.
Lando Norris was mugged at Wembley Stadium last year following the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy, and his McLaren watch was also stolen.
Norris stated that the encounter left him “shaken,” and that he had trouble sleeping after being approached outside the football stadium in July.