Jewelry store robbers thwarted by jewelers with a plan

Jacquelyn Fleming spent her day at the Jewelry by Morgan store, which she co-owns, calming nerves, taking inventory, ordering new glass for display cases, and generally cleaning up the mess that two thieves left behind in a brazen robbery attempt at the Kansas City, Mo., store the previous day.

The thieves, who were shot at by store employees, made off with an undisclosed amount of merchandise, but Fleming believes it could have been a lot worse for her and others. Fortunately, the owners and employees had a plan and a good security system.

“They were definitely intent on doing us great harm and we outwitted them,” Fleming said. “We were robbed six years ago. It wasn’t going to happen like that again.”

The robbery occurred at about 2 p.m. when Fleming allowed a man she thought was a shopper to enter the store. She said the person held the door open and shouted for another man to enter.

Immediately the plan went into effect. Fleming said she and two other employees made it to the back rooms of the store where the offices are located. They locked and secured the doors. A third employee was out of the office making a post office run. There were no customers in the store at the time.

“We headed them off at the pass, Fleming said. “I think their intent was to get a gun to our heads. I just booked and went through our little game plan.”

Inside the offices they heard the robbers smash the glass counters and grab merchandise.

“They were very angry,” Fleming said. “They did a lot of damage. They didn’t know squat. They busted into the silver windows. They left the bridal window intact. I know their intent was to get us to open our safe. And we weren’t doing that.”

Moments later, through security cameras, Fleming and the other store employees were able to see the robbers heading toward the back doors. The employees then fired at the robbers through the wall. Six shots were fired, Fleming said.

“The whole point was to get them out of the store and it did,” Fleming said. “It scared them.”

The thieves remain at large.

The jewelry store is located in a strip mall. Customers and other store employees and owners from neighboring businesses came out when they heard the shots, Fleming said. Some were able to identify the robbers; others got the make and license plate of the getaway car. And the support from the law enforcement and the general public continues.

“We had a real outpouring of support,” Fleming said. “The police were here instantly. Patrons of other stores came out to be more observant and we had a whole lot of people come forward. They had the car within 15 minutes.”

She continued, “The outpouring from the public and our clientele has just been remarkable. I’ve gotten e-mails and people calling. They ask, ‘What can we do for you?’ I tell them to come in and buy something. I just really feel that the hand of God was in the situation.”

In a message posted on a Polygon Network message board, she told other jewelers what had happened to her, and has received e-mails from them offering to help with cash and inventory.

“It made us just feel wonderful,” Fleming said. “It’s taken all the trauma right out of it.”

Fleming said that she will be updating her robbery plan and the store’s security system.

“I’m so glad that we had a plan because they would have done a lot more harm to us and they certainly would have gotten a lot more inventory.”