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19 July, 2024
 
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F1's Leclerc chases watch thieves in custom Ferrari, caught on video

Italian police release footage of Leclerc's high-speed pursuit through Tuscan seaside to recover stolen luxury watch

Source: Drive

A group of thieves in Italy robbed the wrong person when they stole a $US320,000 ($AU480,000) watch from Ferrari Formula One driver Charles Leclerc – who promptly pursued the perpetrators in his custom Ferrari.

Almost one year on from the incident, which took place on 18 April 2022 in the seaside city of Viareggio, Italian police have arrested three men and one woman for the theft, and released footage allegedly showing Leclerc in hot pursuit of the thieves in his 488 Pista Spider.

The robbery is believed to have occurred while the Monegasque F1 driver was greeting fans in the Tuscan town when someone allegedly slipped his one-off Richard Mille RM67-02 prototype watch off his wrist.

Two suspects are then said to have escaped the scene on a scooter, while another two allegedly fled in a rented SUV.

A police report detailing the arrests alleges the people in the SUV are believed to have facilitated their accomplices' escape "by preventing the offended party [Leclerc] – with various maneuvers – [from pursuing] the alleged accomplices in the instants following the ... crime".

Surveillance footage captured at the time of the incident shows Leclerc attempting to follow the SUV while behind the wheel of his recognizable black 488 Pista Spider, which has been customized with racing stripes in the colors of the Monaco flag, and his F1 driver number behind the doors.

Further investigation has found two of the arrested parties were also connected to another attempted watch theft from earlier in the same evening, as well as an armed watch theft from 2021.

Leclerc's 488 Pista Spider is worth an estimated $US1 million ($AU1.49 million) and the F1 star is regularly spotted running errands in it on his home streets of Monaco.

Fans noted Leclerc's official Twitter account quickly liked the tweet from the Italian police confirming the arrests, as well as liking a tweet that poked fun at Leclerc's hasty pursuit of the thieves.

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