Connecticut Retailers on Alert After Westport Jeweler Killed

Connecticut police released a sketch of the suspect involved in the robbery killing of Westport, Conn., jeweler Yekutiel Zeevi on Dec 8. According to a local news report, Zeevi’s business associate, Ronen Konfino, 48, of New York City—who was also shot during the robbery—is in stable condition and helping police with the investigation.

The suspect is described as a white male, 5-foot-10 to 6 feet tall, medium build, age in the mid-40s, with short salt-and-pepper colored hair. He had three to four days’ facial hair growth at the time of the crime, and was wearing a dark wool driving cap, black-framed glasses, jeans, and cowboy-style boots with a zippered front.

The night of Dec. 8, he was also wearing a blue or blue-green jacket with darker colored sleeves and shoulders and a light-colored horizontal stripe around the waist. During the day of Dec. 7, he was wearing a solid green color quilted jacket and carried a green umbrella.

Image of the suspect from surveillance video

The suspect was seen driving a blue four-door vehicle, described as “boxy,” possibly a Scion or Nissan Cube–type vehicle with no front plate.

Connecticut jewelers have been urged to take extra safety precautions since the shooting occured.

“We feel very horrible about what happened, and safety is a first measure here,” says Jeffrey S. Osta, of NAGI Jewelers in Stamford, Conn., “Crime will always happen and you must stay on your toes and be aware of your surroundings.”

Osta tells JCK that jewelers should have a dedicated individual for security. He employs a full-time guard, makes sure that all of the store’s cameras are working, and checks the tapes regularly to make sure recordings are clear. Osta also doesn’t allow anyone to enter the building alone. “You cannot let people in after hours, and if you do make sure you know who they are and you have the building secure,” he says, “It is a must.”

John Kennedy, president of Jewelers’ Security Alliance, says the slain jeweler was following good safety practices by having an upstairs office, seeing customers by appointment, and using a buzzer to let those customers in. “Jewelers should be especially careful to know their customer if the customer seeks an appointment outside normal business hours,” he says, “Be cautious of someone who insists on such a meeting.”

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