WatchBrokers seizure reveals many unsecured watches

FOX 5 I-Team investigates

WatchBrokers seizure reveals many unsecured watches

Posted: Updated:
ATLANTA -

WatchBrokers was a high-end timepiece consignment shop that has been seized by the courts. If you've had dealings with WatchBrokers, that means the courts might have your missing watch.

The take-over, urged along with the state's consumer protection group, is the first ever of its kind. Until Friday, the store held hundreds of expensive watches.  Many of the expensive watches were not secured. An investigator says security was so sloppy it would have taken maybe 10 minutes to get inside and loot the place.

"And once I got in here, two of the safes were open," said court appointed receiver Chris Tierney.

Chris Tierney's team, under orders from a Fulton County judge, seized custody of WatchBrokers. It wasn't hard to do.  Once inside the glass door of the high end consignment shop, the keys lay next to the security gate and behind the doors of unlocked safes were many name brand watches -- Breitlings, Omegas, Raymond Weil, Cartier, and Tag Hauer to name a few.

The number of expensive watches could number in the hundreds.

"We're going to insure this for $2 million, just because I'm going to be conservative because I just don't know what I have," said Tierney.

Lying around were letters from lawyers, furious customers and the Department of Revenue. But also there were clues -- already-labeled FedEx parcels that might lead investigators to some of the watches' rightful owners.  

"I'm hoping that once we have access to the records, we can match up everything in the safe with some inventory records on the system and figure out who actually belongs to what," said Tierney.

The time piece dealer's building sits on coveted real estate.  Now it's dirty with cobwebs, roaches and rodent traps.

A year ago, locked cabinets held some of the finest watches anywhere. For more than a year the I-Team heard from angry customers who say WatchBrokers sold their watches for them but refused to give them their money.   

In January, the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection got an unprecedented agreement with the company president that he would be held financially responsible if they didn't start returning money.  

"Number one, we can bankrupt it, run and hide and put our tails between our legs. Or, we can go to the governor's office and say it's a mess," said WatchBroker's president R.J. Bergh in January.

Now, he's hard to track down. So the state, in another first, took drastic measure to close down a business.

"The kind of parasitic conduct which we have uncovered simply has no place in the marketplace in Georgia," said John Sours of the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection.

If you go to the company's web site, it has been taken over by the court. On the site is contact information if you are trying to locate your watch or to get your money.

  • I-Team Story ArchiveMore>>

  • Reality TV Star Todd Chrisley faces tough questions

    Reality TV Star Todd Chrisley faces tough questions

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:58 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:58:47 GMT
    It's one of the hottest reality TV shows in the country and it stars an Atlanta millionaire.It's called "Chrisley Knows Best" and Todd Chrisley is the flamboyant lead.But Senior I-team reporter Dale Russell has been digging through court records and says "reality" means something different to people who have done business with Chrisley.
    It's one of the hottest reality TV shows in the country and it stars an Atlanta millionaire.It's called "Chrisley Knows Best" and Todd Chrisley is the flamboyant lead.But Senior I-team reporter Dale Russell has been digging through court records and says "reality" means something different to people who have done business with Chrisley.
  • Save money by grocery shopping at the right time

    Save money by grocery shopping at the right time

    Monday, August 18 2014 1:14 PM EDT2014-08-18 17:14:49 GMT
    Here's the sure fire way to stay on budget at the grocery store: Plan your menu in advance, make a list then stick to it. So how is it that you're still spending more than you should and ending up with less than you need? Because too many of us shop at the wrong time.
    Here's the sure fire way to stay on budget at the grocery store: Plan your menu in advance, make a list then stick to it. So how is it that you're still spending more than you should and ending up with less than you need? Because too many of us shop at the wrong time.
  • Credit card transfers: read the fine print

    Credit card transfers: read the fine print

    Friday, August 15 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-08-15 13:00:05 GMT
    A credit card balance can easily get out of control. You can chip away at that debt by transferring the balance to a lower interest card.  But, before you jump on that great offer, hit 'pause'. It's not for everyone.
    A credit card balance can easily get out of control. You can chip away at that debt by transferring the balance to a lower interest card.  But, before you jump on that great offer, hit 'pause'. It's not for everyone.
  • Contact the FOX 5 I-Team

    * denotes required fields

    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thanks for contacting FOX 5.  To reach our newsroom by phone, please call (404) 898-0100.

Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices