Mississippi Jeweler Dies Following Robbery

A Gulfport, Miss., jewelry store owner died as a result of
an armed robbery on July 5.

Gulfport Police deputy commander George Chaix tells JCK that the death of James Wilder, 69, owner of World Gold & Silver Buyers, was the result of injuries
suffered during a robbery.

“A customer came into the store and heard someone moaning
but didn’t see anyone. The person looked over the counter and saw that Wilder
was bleeding from the head,” Chaix says.

Wilder was transported to the University of South Alabama
medical center for head trauma injuries, where he died.

Chaix says Wilder’s death is being investigated as capital
murder. 

“It was originally reported as a medical emergency,” he
says. “When we got there, there were signs that things had been taken. The
place had been ransacked.”

Chaix says police were called at 10:24 a.m. shortly after
World Gold & Silver Buyers opened. “It looked he was open for business and
someone came into to do business with him and they robbed him instead.”

The cause of death has not yet been determined by the Mobile
County Coroner’s Office.

Chaix says police are continuing the investigation with no
current suspects. “We do have evidence sent to the crime lab and we’re waiting
for the results.”

John Kennedy, president of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance,
tells JCK that deaths of
jewelry personnel during robberies have decreased over the last decade.

“Every one is a tragedy and we don’t want any to happen but
in terms of numbers we’re down,” Kennedy says.

During the first six months of 2011, two robbers and four
jewelers were killed
, Kennedy says. In 2010, four jewelers died. “It was a
little elevated but not off the charts,” he says. “We’re just about where we were
for all of 2010.”