Designer sunglasses stolen in St Albans raid

PUBLISHED: 13:05 27 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:07 06 May 2010

Robert Roope outside his store

Robert Roope outside his store

THIEVES targeted an independent opticians in an historic city centre street and made off with thousands of pounds worth of designer sunglasses over the Bank Holiday. The culprits smashed through the window of Robert Roope Opticians in George Street with a

THIEVES targeted an independent opticians in an historic city centre street and made off with thousands of pounds worth of designer sunglasses over the Bank Holiday.

The culprits smashed through the window of Robert Roope Opticians in George Street with a sledgehammer at around 3am on Monday morning.

Robert Roope, who has run the business for over 30 years, said his neighbours heard the break-in and saw the robbers make off in a car towards the city centre.

More than 200 pairs of designer and vintage sunglasses were stolen in the raid, which are worth around £5,000 collectively.

Around 40 of the pairs stolen belong to the Black Eyewear range designed by Robert himself and are only available at the opticians or on his online store www.retrospecs.co.uk at a price of around £140 each.

The frames are named after famous jazz musicians and their names are written on the outsides of the arms. Most of the frames are also inscribed with the retrospecs website.

Although Robert has had a couple of minor break-ins over his 30 years of trading, he has never experienced a theft on such a large scale.

The robbers also smashed through the art-décor glass display cabinets and carried out a messy search of the remainder of the shop.

Robert didn't learn about the incident until 11am on Monday because the police didn't have his details. He said afterwards: "Lots of my neighbours are really upset and feel personally invaded as this is such a quiet little corner of St Albans and it was a very violent way they broke in."

He urged anyone offered any Black Eyewear sunglasses to call the police, emphasising that he was the only stockist of the make.

A spokesperson for Herts Police asked anyone who saw the incident or knew of anyone trying to sell any Black Eyewear sunglasses to contact Pc James Kier on the non-emergency number 0845 3300 222.

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