Jewelry Crime Blotter: Week of Oct. 28



A weekly roundup of jewelry store crimes with related tips from JCK:

– The FBI is helping Philadelphia police track down thieves who made off with $200,000 after a rooftop break-in late Oct. 25.

According to police, the robbers made their way past a barbed wire fence lining the building’s roof, breeched a metal hatch to gain access inside, and broke through a restaurant wall. They then cut through solid steel bars to get inside the cage that housed Quang Minh Jewelry’s vault, and used a large masonry drill to plow through three layers of steel separated by two 6-inch layers of concrete to break into the safe.

Police are investigating the surveillance system to see if it provides any clues to the identities of the suspects. Anyone with any information should contact the authorities.

The Jewelers Security Alliance’s Manual of Jewelry Security maintains that when installed and maintained, a video security system can be an important crime deterrent, and can be of great assistance to law enforcement in identifying and prosecuting criminals. A jeweler should test his or her system regularly, assign an employee with daily video system operational system responsibility, replace worn out tapes at regular intervals, and have multiple cameras depending on the size and configuration of your premises.

– Two men armed with automatic weapons wearing masks and bulletproof vests stormed an El Paseo, Calif., jewelry store Oct. 26 and made off with an undisclosed amount of jewelry.

The men ordered employees and customers of Leeds & Son Fine Jewelers to the floor during the early afternoon, grabbed merchandise, avoided at least one shot from the store’s security guard, before fleeing to their getaway car. The stolen white Honda was abandoned a mile from the scene.

Police are still investigating the crime, and the suspects remain at large. According to local news reports, this is the second robbery at Leeds & Son in three months.

The Manual suggests jewelers obey the orders of robbers. Do not say or do anything, or even raise your hands, unless told to do so. “Cooperate fully and try not to panic,” according to the Manual.

– Police in Orland Park, Ill., are looking for two men wanted for the armed robbery of a local jewelry store on Oct. 25.

Two other male suspects were taken into police custody after the robbery at Jewelry Gems and Design. They have not been charged with any crime yet. No one was injured in the robbery.

Police said the store owner reported that three men had made off with an undisclosed amount of merchandise after brandishing a handgun and demanding jewelry and cash.

One of the suspects is described as black, about 5-foot-11, 250 pounds, with facial hair, wearing a dark-colored baseball cap, dark blue short-sleeve shirt, and blue jeans. The other is described as black, 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, with facial hair, wearing a dark-colored baseball cap, and tan long-sleeved sweater.

The suspects could be driving a dark blue, newer model four-door Chevrolet Malibu with no front license plate and a rear Indiana dealer plate.

Anyone with information should contact Orland Park police at 708-349-4111.

The JSA suggests trying to memorize all the locations touched by the robbers so that jewelers can advise the police about possible fingerprint evidence when they arrive. Do not wipe or try to clean the cases or other surfaces, or otherwise disturb the crime scene before police arrive. Also try to keep all witnesses present until the police respond.