FOUR SUSPECTS PLEAD GUILTY TO CHARGES IN CONNECTION WITH MURDER OF JEWELER
Villa Rica, GA - April 29, 2015
Four suspects pleaded guilty to charges of armed robbery and aggravated assault in connection with the robbery and fatal shooting of a retail jeweler in June 2013. All were sentenced to 30 years in prison. The fifth suspect, who was the shooter, was previously sentenced to life in prison.
KIDNAPPER SENTENCED TO 176 MONTHS IMPRISONMENT
Hartford, CT - April 20, 2015
The first of five suspects in the kidnapping of a store manager and others and the robbery of a retail jewelry store was sentenced to 176 months of imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release. The crime occurred in April 2013, and began with a kidnapping at an apartment in Meriden, CT. Two of those kidnapped were driven back to the retail store where they worked in Fairfield, CT, where they were forced to open the store. A large quantity of merchandise was taken. The suspect was also ordered to pay restitution of $3.1 million. Four other suspects have been charged with participating in this kidnapping and robbery. Two have pleaded guilty and await sentencing, and two are awaiting trail.
OTHER RECENT ROBBERIES
Albuquerque, NM - May 7, 2015 – A suspect wearing a ski mask and surgical gloves entered a jewelry store, pointed a gun at a sales associate and left with 250 pieces of jewelry. Surveillance footage allowed police to identify the suspect, and investigation led them to another store where the suspect was going to have some of the jewelry appraised. The suspect was arrested.
Englewood, NJ - April 26, 2015 – A black male suspect entered a retail jewelry store at 5:30 p.m. wearing a hoodie. He pulled a heavy tool from his clothing and began smashing showcases. The suspect took several trays of rings, and smashed his way out of the store when the owner locked the door. A chase ensued and the suspect escaped into the city’s sewer system.
Monterey Park, CA - April 30, 2015 – At 4:20 p.m. a black male who had previously been in the store several weeks before acting suspiciously entered a retail jewelry store again. The sales associate was concerned and called security, but prior to the arrival of security, the suspect pulled out a handgun, pointed it at the associate and ordered the associate to give the suspect all the rings. The suspect left with 20 solitaires of significant value.
COUPLE PEPPER SPRAY SALES ASSOCIATE AND TAKE TRAY OF RINGS
Fresno, CA – April 21, 2015
A male and female couple went to a mall jewelry kiosk at 9:21 a.m. and requested to look at several pieces of jewelry. When the sales associate brought out a tray of merchandise, the female suspect pepper sprayed the sales associate in the face. The male suspect then grabbed the tray of merchandise and both ran out of the mall. They were reported to have driven away in a silver or gray Jeep Compass SUV. The male is described as 25-30 years old, 5’6” to 5’ 8”, with a medium build and a light mustache. The female is described as 25-30 years old, 5’4” with a medium build and dark shoulder length hair. If you have information, contact Detective Daniel Messick of the Fresno Police Department at 559-621-2423.
SHOTS FIRED BY ROBBERS DURING SMASH AND GRAB ROBBERY
New York, NY – May 12, 2015
At 1:20 p.m. three male robbers wearing suits and fedoras entered a retail store in midtown Manhattan. Two suspects smashed open showcases with hammers and a third suspect fired two shots from a handgun. They took high-end watches and ran from the store. A retired police officer who works in the store pursued the suspects up Park Avenue, grabbed one of the suspects, and flagged down a police car. The police arrested this 19-year-old suspect who was in possession of a few of the stolen watches.
COMMENT: Despite numerous important arrests of smash and grab robbery suspects who were members of gangs operating out of Detroit and Oakland, CA, the threat of smash and grab robberies still presents a major crime threat to the industry.
SUSPECTS USE FALSE IDENTIFICATION TO OPEN CREDIT ACCOUNT
Cedar Hill, TX – April 29, 2015
Two black male suspects used information obtained through identity theft to open a credit account at a jewelry retail chain store. The suspects then purchased two sets of earrings. Suspect #1 is dark skinned, 20-25 years old, wearing a black hat, black shirt and jeans. Suspect #2 is 35-40 years old, balding, wearing glasses and pink shirt and jeans. If you have information, contact Detective J. Porter at 972-291-5181 ext. 2185.
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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