17 METRO DETROIT SUSPECTS ARRESTED FOR SMASH AND GRAB ROBBERIES - JSA AND JEWELERS MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY OFFER REWARD (CALL JSA AT 800-325-1883 WITH INFORMATION) - JSA DATABASE CITED AS PLAYING KEY ROLE IN INVESTIGATION
Detroit, MI - February 27, 2015
On Friday, February 27, 2015, at a press conference in Detroit, MI, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan announced the indictments of 17 suspects for smash and grab robberies of jewelry stores in six states: NY, MD, NC, MS, NE and CT. The press release stated that “The indictments follow a series of investigations around the nation by various local, state and federal law enforcement agencies involving approximately 40 smash and grab jewelry store robberies.” Authorities have also announced that they are looking for the public’s help in identifying 16 other individuals believed to be connected to additional smash and grab robberies.
John Kennedy, President of Jewelers’ Security Alliance, was asked to speak at the press conference, and he thanked the U.S. attorney, the FBI, the Oakland County Gang and Violent Crime Task Force, and the other law enforcement agencies that cooperated so effectively and who contributed to the success of this extremely important investigation. Kennedy stated that the Detroit based smash and grab crew had been the #1 threat to the jewelry industry for the last year and a half. He also said that federal involvement by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney was essential in this investigation since the crimes had happened all over the U.S., and that it was extremely difficult for a local law enforcement agency to address this problem by itself.
Kennedy announced that the industry was offering $45,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest and convictions of suspects in the smash and grab cases. JSA itself pledged $10,000, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company pledged $25,000, and a consortium of industry firms pledged another $10,000. Kennedy asked that anyone with information should call JSA at 800-325-1883 and that the information could be received anonymously.
The press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office stated that the JSA played a key role in these investigations by offering law enforcement agencies access to its database of jewelry and gem thefts.
FIVE SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN CALIFORNIA FOR SMASH AND GRAB ROBBERY
Denver, CO - February 24, 2015
A woman acting as a customer was buzzed into a retail jewelry store in Cherry Creek North in Denver, and she let in three additional suspects. The group smashed display cases and fled in a red SUV, which they abandoned nearby. The next day the suspects, whom police had identified, were located and led police in California on a 30-mile chase from Sacramento to San Francisco, reaching speeds of 120 miles per hour. The suspects eventually crashed their vehicle and five suspects were arrested.
TWO SIMULTANEOUS GRAB AND RUNS AT OUTLET MALL
East Lampeter Township, PA- February 19, 2015
At 7:00 p.m. a suspect asked to see a two-carat diamond engagement ring at store #1. When the suspect was handed the ring, he turned and ran from the store with the ring. The suspect is described as a black or Hispanic male, 5'10" with a thin build. He was wearing a Yankee hat, red puffy coat, blue jeans and a gold watch.
At the same time, a suspect ran from store #2 in the same outlet mall with a diamond ring. This suspect is described as a black male, mid-30s, 6'2" with a heavy build, and wearing a baseball hat. If you have information, call Sgt. Brian Cloonan of the East Lampeter Township Police at 717-291-4676.
SUSPECT IDENTIFIED IN GRAB AND RUN THEFT
Fayetteville, NC - February 19, 2015
At 3:00 P.M. a suspect entered a retail jewelry store and asked to see a ring. Once he was holding the ring, he asked to see a second ring. While the sales associate was holding the second ring, the suspect grabbed it and ran from the store with both rings. The suspect has been identified as 35-year-old James Wallace Jernigan, III. If you have information, contact the Fayetteville Police Department at 910-433-1856.
RECOMMENDATION: Show only one item at a time.
SUSPECT SHOWS GUN, TAKES DIAMOND RINGS
Brea, CA – February 3, 2015
A suspect entered a retail jewelry mall store at 6:45 p.m. and asked to look at diamond solitaire rings. When the sales associate showed him a ring, the suspect lifted his shirt and took a handgun from his waist band. He demanded the ring and four more rings from the showcase. The suspect left the store and fled in white, mid-size sedan. The suspect is described as a white or Hispanic male, 6’, 65-70 years old, possibly walking with a limp, and wearing eyeglasses.
SUSPECT PUTS SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND RING UNDER COAT
Annapolis, MD – February 19, 2015
At 10:10 a.m. a white male suspect entered a retail jewelry store. While the suspect was talking to employees, the suspect put a 5-carat sapphire ring surrounded by 15 diamonds under his coat. The suspect is described as mid-to-late-50s and 6’1.” He is reported to have left in a red Ford Focus with Florida license plates. If you have information, contact Detective John Murphy of the Annapolis Police Department at 410-268-9000 ext. 7268.
CRIME PREVENTION ADVICE FOR JEWELERS
WHAT TO DO IN A ROBBERY
Even if a jeweler follows all the right procedures to discourage robberies, the jeweler may still wind up a robbery target. JSA's main advice if you do have a robbery is this: Do not resist, and cooperate fully. For many years the JSA has promoted the following lifesaving guidelines on what to do in a robbery:
1. Obey the orders of the robber. Do not say or do anything, or even raise your hands, unless told to do so. Cooperate fully and try not to panic.
2. Do not attempt to disarm the robber or reach for a concealed weapon. Assume that the robber will shoot without hesitation.
3. Never do or say anything that would anger the robber. Example: do not stare at him and have him think that you are trying to memorize his facial characteristics.
4. The less time the robbers are in the store, the less risk there is of injury. Once the robbers have your merchandise, they can be expected to leave quickly.
5. Do not press a holdup alarm, if your premises has one, until the robbers have left the store and you have locked the door. If the police arrive while the robbers are in the store, or if the robbers return, a deadly hostage situation could develop.
6. Expect to be threatened. One of the robber's weapons is the fear he creates. Robbers commonly say: "I'll kill you if you make a move!" This is a typical threat. Expect it. Keep calm.
7. Frequently the robber will force the jeweler and his staff to a back room or washroom. Expect to be tied up or handcuffed, or told to lie on the floor. Do as you are told.
8. If you are out of the robbers' sight, in a back room or elsewhere, stay where you are. Do not intrude on the crime scene.
9. Do not chase the robbers or follow them out of the store.
10. Call the police immediately after the robbers leave and you have locked the door. Do not wipe or try to clean the cases or other surfaces, or otherwise disturb the crime scene before the police respond, because you may destroy fingerprints or other valuable evidence. Try to memorize all the locations touched by the robbers so that you can advise the police about possible fingerprint evidence when they arrive.
11. Try to keep witnesses present until the police arrive. At the least, obtain the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses.
12. Do not talk to the media or allow them to film in your premises. Refuse all media interviews.
13. It is important to rehearse with all employees what they should do in a robbery. Being prepared may help prevent an employee from panicking and provoking violence.
SMASH AND GRAB ROBBERY RECOMMENDATIONS
In 2014 a total of 110 smash and grab robberies of jewelry stores in the U.S. were reported to JSA, compared to 62 in 2013, a 77% increase. Jewelers can’t rely only on the great work by law enforcement to help with this crime problem. Below are some recommendations provided to jewelers by JSA to help reduce the smash and grab epidemic.
1. Showcases with burglary-resistant, laminated glass and special frames can withstand many blows with a hammer and can prevent or reduce large losses. JSA has not seen robbers take retaliatory action when laminated glass is used and robbers are unable to enter a showcase or are able to take only a small amount of merchandise from a small hole. Furthermore, robbers frequently cut themselves on small holes and leave behind valuable DNA evidence from blood.
2. Surveillance photos from eye-level cameras inside and outside the store provide excellent evidence for police.
3. Having buzzers on the door can help to keep out potential robbers.
4. Keeping a log book of suspicious incidents, and putting aside and saving surveillance video of suspicious incidents, can be a great help in subsequent investigations.
5. Sharing information and photos among jewelers and police, and with JSA, regarding casings and suspects can help prevent crime and assist with investigations.
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