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Jewelry Crime Report: Distraction Thefts Surge in October

on Nov 8, 2016 7:28 AM

Map of October's jewelry crime

The Jewelers Security Alliance Crime Message Center shows that thefts led the way for jewelry crime in October, but violent robberies and burglaries are still prevalent.

Along with the past few months, these crimes are not limited to certain geographic areas and luxury watches remain the primary target for more brazen crimes.

Gold rings and chains seem to be the target of distraction and grab-and-run thefts, as groups of suspects — often of Eastern European descent — have been observed working together.

Click on the links below to learn more about each crime and tips for prevention.

When Where What
Monday, October 31 Chula Vista, CA Burglary
Sunday, October 30 Charlestown, WV Grab-and-Run Theft
Thursday, October 27 Morgantown, WV Distraction Theft
Wednesday, October 26 Langhorne, PA Switch Theft
Tuesday, October 25 Boca Raton, FL Smash-and-grab-robbery
Monday, October 24 Chico, CA Grab-and-Run Theft
Saturday, October 22 Charlotte, NC  Armed Robbery
Friday, October 21 Flemington, NJ Burglary
Wednesday, October 19 Easton, PA Burglary
Tuesday, October 18 Gilroy, CA Distraction Theft
Sunday, October 16 North Olmstead, OH Distraction Theft
Sunday, October 16 Folsom, CA Grab-and-Run Theft
Sunday, October 14 Humble, TX Three-Minute Burglary
Wedneday, October 12 Roseville, MI Grab-and-Run Theft
Wednesday, October 12 Las Vegas, NV Grab-and-Run Theft
Tuesday, October 11 Raleigh, NC Smash-and-Grab Robbery
Sunday, October 9 Aeiai, HI  Grab-and-Run Theft
Tuesday, October 4 Chattanooga, TN Grab-and-Run Theft

 

When Where What
Monday, October 31 Chula Vista, CA Burglary
Crime Description
  • After smashing through the front of a jewelry store, a lone suspect smashed display cases, stole several items, and left behind the hammer he used during the burglary

  • The suspect is described as wearing gloves, a blue baseball cap, and a green long-sleeve shirt

  • Contact the Chula Vista Police Department at 619-691-5151 with information


Tip!

Covering up showcases will not deter burglars

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When Where What
Sunday, October 30 Charlestown, WV Grab-and-Run Theft
Crime Description
  • At approximately 2:15 p.m., a suspect fled from the store with a ring after the sales associate assiting him went to answer a phone call

  • The suspect is described as a 27-year-old black male, 6'0" with a thin build, short hair and no facial hair, and was wearing jeans with a striped white shirt

  • Contact the Charleston Police Department at 304-348-8111 with information 


Tip!

Sales associates should only assist one customer at a time

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When Where What
Thursday, October 27 Morgantown, WV Distraction Theft
Crime Description
  • At approximately 3:27 p.m., a male and female suspect stated they were shopping for wedding gifts and after deciding to purchase four pieces of jewelry, they stated that they needed to touch the jewelry and have it wrapped due to regligious beliefs — while doing this, the man stated he didn't have enough cash, asked if the items could be held until he returned, and when he never returned, the store unwrapped the items the following day to discover two items missing

  • Both suspects are described as Middle Eastern and were speaking French while in the store

  • The male suspect is described as  5'10" and 225 pounds with black hair, a close shaved beard and last seen wearing a tan coat

  • The female suspect is described as 5'2" and 125 pounds with dark brown hair and was last seen wearing a brown jacket with a scarf

  • Contact the Granville Police Department at 304-599-6382 with information


Tip!

Don't wait to reconcile your inventory after missing a sale

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When Where What
Wednesday, October 26 Langhorne, PA Switch Theft
Crime Description
  • At approximately 8:45 p.m., a female suspect examined a bridal set and returned it after the store associated had bent down — the associate recognized that the engagement ring was not from the store, but the suspect left the store

  • The suspect is described as a white female, 5'5" with auburn hair and green eyes, and was last seen wearing a leather jacket and knit hat

  • Contact the Middletown Police Department at 215-949-1000 with information


Tip!

Even if it's only for a moment, don't leave customers with merchandise unattended

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When Where What
Tuesday October 25 Boca Raton, FL Smash-and-grab-robbery
Crime Description
  • At approximately 8:46 p.m., two suspects entered a store, directed all associates to get down and then used sledgehammers to smash display cases — they completed the robbery in two minutes with what appeared to be a timing device that was counting down

  • Both suspects are described as very thin and 5'10" and wearing motorcycle helmets with visors — one suspect carried a brown leather bag while the other stuffed jewelry in his pockets

  • Contact the Boca Raton Police Department at 561-620-6144 with information


Tip!

Use the most secure type of showcase glass to prevent them from easily breaking

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When Where What
Monday, October 24 Chico, CA Grab-and-Run Theft
Crime Description
  • At approximately 5:30 p.m., two suspects asked to see watches and fled with merchandise when they asked to compare two different watches

  • Suspect one is described as an 18-year-old black male with a tattoo of an iron cross on his wrist and last seen weating an olive-colored baseball hat

  • Suspect two is described as a 16-year-old black male with short dreadlocks and last seen wearing a white t-shirt with a hoodie

  • Contact the Chico Police Department at 530-897-4900 with information


Tip!

Only let customers examine one piece of merchandise at a time

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When Where What
Saturday, October 22 Charlotte, NC Armed Robbery
Crime Description
  • At approximately 10:11 a.m., two suspects entered a jewelry store where one fired a shot before fleeing on foot with an undisclosed amount and type of merchandise

  • Suspect one is described as a 6'3" black male with a medium build, light complexion, thin mustache and goatee

  • Suspect two is described as either a white or hispanic male last seen wearing white sunglasses, a dark-colored hoodie with the words "Ft. Lauderdale" print on the front, and a black skull cap with a curly, black wig

  • Contact the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department at 704-336-7600 with information


Tip!

Use the services of an armed and active police officer or security guard

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When Where What
Friday, October 21 Flemington, NJ Burglary
Crime Description
  • At approximately 4:53 a.m., suspects cut power to a jewelry store via the exterior fuse box, gained entry by prying open the front door and security gate, and proceeded to smash showcases

  • Contact the Flemington Borough Police at 908-782-6462 with information


Tip!

Ensure your alarm system is UL-certified and has line security

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When Where What
Wednesday, October 19 Easton, PA Burglary
Crime Description
  • At approximately 11:45 p.m., two male suspects pried open a gold display case, stole merchandise, and fled when the alarm was triggered

  • Contact the Palmer Police Department at 610-253-3556 with information


Tip!

Put all merchnadise away when you're closed

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When Where What
Tuesday, October 18 Gilroy, CA Distraction Theft
Crime Description
  • Two female suspects carrying an infant asked to see multiple items (chains and rings) and asked if the store accepted Euros — after they left having said they would go to the bank to have money converted to dollars, one of the rings discovered missing 

  • Suspect one is described as Eastern European, 5’10” and 170 lbs, and has long dark hair pulled in a bun

  • Suspect two is described as Eastern European, 5’6” and 145 lbs, and had long black hair past her shoulders

  • Contact the Jewelers Security Alliance at 212-687-0328 with information


Tip!

Be alert to suspicious incidents where customers leave abruptly

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When Where What
Sunday, October 16 North Olmstead, OH Distraction Theft
Crime Description
  • At approximately 4:00 p.m., a male and female suspect entered the store with two children and the male suspect inquired about gold chains with a $15,000 budget — he purchased one is cash for under $400 and said he would return for others valued at $7,000, which he never did and inventory counts later revealed missing chains

  • The male suspect is described as Middle Eastern, 5'10" with a thin build, having a dark complexion, and no facial hair

  • Contact the North Olmsted Police Department at 440-777-3535 with information


Tip!

Examine each item after showing to a customer

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When Where What
Sunday, October 16 Folsom, CA Grab-and-Run Theft
Crime Description
  • At approximately 1:56 p.m., two suspects entered seprately from each other and both convened near a bridal showcase where the second suspect ran with a ring after being presented with it and the first suspect said "I think he took the ring" and "Let me see where he's at" while running out of the store after him

  • The first suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his late 30s, 5’10” and 190 pounds, has a goatee and is bald, missing a front tooth, and was last seen wearing a black baseball hat and black jeans

  • The second suspect is described as a white male in his mid 40s, 5’8” and 190 pounds, has many tattoos on his neck (specifically one of a red rose), and has blonde hair and blue eyes

  • Contact the Folsom Police Department at 916-355-7230 with information


Tip!

Use a code word to alert staff of a potential grab-and-run situation

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When Where What
Friday, October 14 Humble, TX Three-Minute Burglary
Crime Description
  • Four suspects pried open the front door of a store, one used a crowbar to smash display cases, another cut himself badly and left blood at the crime scene

  • Suspects are descirbed as males wearing long sleeve shirts, three with their faces concealed, and another wearing shorts.
  • Contact the Harris County Sheriff’s Department at 713-221-6000 with information


Tip!

Proper lighting can deter a burglary attempt

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When Where What
Wednesday, October 12 Roseville, MI Grab-and-Run Theft
Crime Description
  • At approximately 1:45 p.m., the suspect returned to the store he visited the week prior and said he had cash to buy the ring he previously examined which he would use in a proposal — when given the ring to reexamine it, he fled

  • Suspect is described as black male with a medium complexion, 5’8” and 160 pounds, tattoo on the back of his right hand, and has a goatee

  • Contact the Roseville Police Department at 586-775-4100 with information


Tip!

Install a surveillance system to capture clear images of theft suspects

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When Where What
Wednesday, October 12 Las Vegas, NV Grab-and-Run Theft
Crime Description
  • At approximately 10:30 a.m., the suspect was shown luxury watches and fled the store after examining one watch with a polishing cloth

  • Suspect is described as a 27-year-old black male, 5’8” and weighs 175 pounds, tattoos of a dart on spade card symbol on his right hand, wore a ring on his pinkie finger, and was last seen wearing grey jeans and a satin jacket with a gold phoenix symbol and Jordan brand shoes 
  • Contact the Jewelers Security Alliance at (212) 687-0328 with information


Tip!

Use a private showing room for high-value merchandise

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When Where What
Tuesday, October 11 Raleigh, NC Smash-and-Grab Robbery
Crime Description
  • At approximately 12:53 p.m., two suspects briefly looked at jewelry before one revealed a sledgehammer and the other brandished a gun

  • Suspect one is described as a black male with a long beard

  • Suspect two is described as a white male with a goatee

  • Contact the Jewelers Security Alliance at 212-687-0328 with information


Tip!

To remain safe during a robbery, don't resist and obey the robber's orders

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When Where What
Sunday, October 9 Aeiai, HI Grab-and-Run Theft
Crime Description
  • At approximately 1:44 p.m., the suspect was shown several watches and when he asked to see one, he put it on his wrist, looked at it, and then fled the store

  • Suspect is described as a white male in his early 20s, 5’11” with a medium build, buzz cut hair, tattoos on the left side of his neck and another on his left arm, was last seen wearing a red t-shirt with black pants and black and white tennis shoes.
  • Contact the Pearl City Police at 808-723-8800 with information


Tip!

Ask for a photo ID before showing commonly targeted items like watches

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When Where What
Tuesday, October 4 Chattanooga, TN Grab-and-Run Theft
Crime Description
  • At approximately 12:00 p.m., the suspect requested to see bridal sets in white and yellow gold and asked to see rings that were the most expensive

  • As the sales associate was holding a set, the suspect grabbed it from her hand and feld to a silver four-door sedan

  • Suspect is described as a white male in his late 40s, 6’2” and 150 pounds, has blonde hair that appeared to be white, and was last seen wearing blue jeans and a light colored plaid long sleeve

  • Contact the Chattanooga Police Department at 423-643-5000 with information


Tip!

Customers may actually be criminals casing your store if they're asking unusual or suspicious questions

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