Armed intruder at jewelry show was the first in more than a decade

An armed intruder, who allegedly was a professional criminal, was shot, and later died, during a robbery attempt at a small gem and jewelry show in Florida in January. It’s the first known attempted armed robbery of any U.S. jewelry show in at least 13 years, says the Jewelers Security Alliance (JSA).

According to JSA and police reports, at 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 9, two male suspects in ski masks pried open a rear door of the city Coliseum in St. Petersburg, Fla., where the Gem, Jewelry, and Bead Show was being held. (The three-day show, which had 35 vendors and normally attracts thousands of visitors, was closed for the night.)

An armed security guard inside the building heard an alarm go off. When he confronted the suspects, they pointed their handguns at him, said reports. The guard fired several shots at them, wounding one who later died in the hospital. The second suspect escaped.

Media reports identify the person killed was Jose Gregoria Gomez-Lozano, 31, a native of Colombia who authorities suspect entered the country illegally. According to JSA and police, Gomez-Lozano was a professional criminal wanted for crimes in three states, who had his fingerprints surgically removed to avoid identification.

A spokesman for the gem show, which travels to cities in west central Florida, said it was the first time in its 34-year history that there had been a break-in. Anyone with information was asked to call St. Petersburg, Fla., police at (727) 893-4937.

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