Case Cutters Arrested
JSA also warns about openings, closings and home invasions
The Jewelers Security Alliance reports two suspects have been arrested in a series of 60-80 incidents in 18 states in which thieves cut the silicone seal on jewelry store case tops, lifted the top and removed merchandise. JSA sent several warnings about the crimes to members this year.
The FBI and the New York Police Departments Organized Theft Task Force in Queens, NY, arrested the suspects April 27 after an intense cooperative effort by 40 police agencies in the 18 states. When arrested, the suspects a man and a woman were in possession of a quantity of stolen high-end watches. Losses linked to the crime spree could exceed $3 million.
In addition, a new problem has surfaced in California: a wave of jewelry showcase smashings in more than 23 stores from the end of March through early May, says JSA. Most of the crimes were in the Los Angeles area, often in mall and department store locations after 8 p.m. Suspects are described as two black men in their 20s who use hammers.
JSA also says two crimes occurred recently that call for continued vigilance about store openings and closings, a vulnerable time for jewelry crime, as well as about being followed home.
In Carson, CA, employees closed their jewelry store for the evening, secured the merchandise in the safe and left through the back door. As they exited, two armed Hispanic men ordered them back into the store and robbed it.
JSA advises jewelers to avoid entering and exiting stores through rear doors or quiet side alleys. Jewelers also should check outside before leaving and notify police if they see anyone suspicious.
JSA also reported on a recent Massachusetts robbery of retail jewelers in the driveway of their home. The husband-and-wife team had gone to Boston to sell jewelry, then stopped briefly at their store on the way home. After the pulled into their driveway, a suspect came to the drivers side door, showed a gun and said to open the trunk. A second suspect reached into the trunk, grabbed a bag containing jewelry and fled.
JSA advises jewelers to keep large safes or quantities of jewelry merchandise away from their homes. Because robbers usually case their victims, JSA also says jewelers should always be aware of being watched or followed. People sitting in a car near your home or store for too long or a car that follows you when you leave the store should trigger a call to police. Keep a charged cell phone with you at all times, and vary your route to and from work.
by Peggy Jo Donahue