Theodore “Ted” Shaughnessy, owner of Gallerie Jewelers, a well-respected jeweler in Austin, Texas, died of gunshot wounds sustained during a home invasion on the morning of March 2. He was 55.
According to a statement from the Travis County Sheriff’s office, there was evidence of forced entry at Shaughnessy’s home. There is also evidence that multiple shots were fired and that the intruder was injured. Authorities are looking at the possibility he may have known his assailant.
At press time, it was not clear if the incident had any relation to his profession as a jeweler.
“JSA is in the process of seeking additional information,” says John Kennedy, president of Jewelers’ Security Alliance.
On the American Gem Society Facebook page, executive director Katherine Bodoh paid tribute to Shaughnessy.
“It is times like these where words are not enough,” she said. “Our hearts, prayers and deepest condolences are with his family.”
As the news spread, his store turned into an impromptu memorial with customers expressing their thoughts.
Flowers placed at Gallerie Jewelry in Central Austin. The owner, Ted Shaughnessy, was killed in a home invasion in southwest Travis County early Friday morning. pic.twitter.com/EilkgwTjzC
— Chelsey Trahan (@ChelseyTrahan) March 5, 2018
Customers remembered him as a happy man who radiated enthusiasm about jewelry.
“If you were not having a good day when you walked in the store, he would just have this glow and cheerful nature that would make you feel all better,” one person told local station KXAN.
A message on the store’s Facebook page said it will be closed until further notice.
Anyone with information about this incident should all the Travis County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 512-854-1444 or Crime Stoppers at 512-472-8477.
While it’s not clear if this incident was jewelry-related, home invasions are a sporadic threat faced by jewelers. In 2017, for example, there were four. JSA gives the following advice to keep your home safe.
– Look out for people “casing” the residence. Make sure you are not being watched or followed. Things to be aware of: People sitting in a car near your home and business for too long; a car following a jeweler when they leave the store; suspicious phone calls or suspicious “customers” visiting the store.
– Keep a suspicious-incident logbook, where employees can record things that aren’t “quite right.” It can also be used to record license plate numbers or other descriptions that might later prove helpful to police.
– Train family members not to give out information over the phone, not to open the door to unknown people, and to be careful regarding delivery personnel. Make sure temporary visitors, like in-laws and babysitters, understand these rules.
– Have proper locks, an alarm system, and good lighting. Some jewelers also recommend a dog.
– Do not keep nonpersonal jewelry at home. Keep personal jewelry in a small safe.
– Let your neighbors know the risks you face as a jeweler and enlist their help to watch for people casing the residence.
– Screen and monitor all household help.
– Have an unlisted phone number. Keep a charged cell phone by your beside at night.
– Have a security code phrase that can be used to alert other family members to possible danger.