Store Theft Pattern Reported by JSA

April 29, 2003

Store Theft Pattern Reported by JSA

Several recent crime bulletins released by the Jewelers' Security Alliance highlight the ongoing need for retailers to be vigilant in preventing theft while stores are open. These thefts often include the elements of surprise and speed. Thieves have distracted sales associates or surprised them with sudden grab-and-run crimes in various locations during April. Here are examples reported by JSA:

• On April 9, two thieves used a strong wire to puncture the silicone caulking around a retail store's window in a Trumbull, CT, mall and fished out a necklace from the window. Two sales associates were busy waiting on customers at the time. This is a developing pattern of sneak theft JSA reported in March, occurring primarily in mall chain stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and California.

• On April 9, a group of eight male suspects entered a jewelry store. Three occupied one sales associate by asking to look at watches. Three others distracted a second associate by purchasing jewelry cleaner. The remain two thieves gained access to the front window of the store and removed 23 items from a showcase, then fled.

• On April 15, two grab-and-run crimes occurred at opposite ends of the country. In Johnstown, PA, a man in a white coat and tie told a salesperson that he was looking for a ring as a Mother's Day gift. When the sales associate showed him a 7-ct. diamond ring, the suspect grabbed it and ran, fleeing in a car with Florida plates. In Plano, TX, another man asked to see a platinum solitaire at a chain jewelry store. As soon as the salesperson removed the ring from the showcase, the suspect grabbed it and ran.

JSA reports another grab-and-run thief was captured, and stolen merchandise recovered, on April 17 after an intense police investigation. The suspect was the subject of a JSA wanted bulletin released the day before, for a March grab-and-run theft in Ames, IA.

Criminals who trail traveling salespersons also continue to prey on the industry. Adding to the growing number of home invasions, a salesperson from Glendale, CA, was accosted outside his home on April 10, pepper sprayed as he was getting into his car and relieved of his briefcase, which contained jewelry. On the same day, a salesman in Deerfield, IL, avoided a loss when he pulled into a bank drive-through window after noticing a suspicious van following him. The salesman had just placed his line in his trunk and noticed his car was starting to malfunction. He shouted to a bank customer and tellers to call police because he was being robbed. A dozen police cars responded, chased the suspects and eventually captured one, who was arrested for attempted robbery and possession of burglary tools.

For more information and additional crime items, visit JSA's Web site.

by Peggy Jo Donahue

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