October 25, 1999
Smash-and-Grab Hits Ohio
A gang responsible for 23 smash-and-grab robberies of jewelry stores in the South may be linked to a similar incident earlier this month at a Neiman Marcus store in Beechwood, OH, say investigators.
Two masked gloved men in dark clothing smashed a jewelry case with a sledgehammer at the store, scooped $275,000 worth of jewelry and watches into plastic trash cans they carried and ran out, according to APB News. After studying surveillance camera photos, investigators say one of the suspects matches the height and weight of Eric Charles Grant, who is wanted by the FBI for smash-and-grab robberies at Whitehall Jewelers in Lawrenceville, GA, and Service Merchandise in Columbia, SC. The FBI issued a $20,000 reward for information leading to Grant's arrest. Cleveland police say he is a suspect in the Beechwood case, although they have not confirmed he is involved.
Similar crimes, in which robbers used sledgehammers to smash cases and escape with jewelry, have been committed at jewelry and department stores from Delaware to Alabama during the past several months. The FBI believes the robberies have been committed by the same gang, although it isn't ruling out copycat crimes.
- by Stacey King