Jewelry Crime Blotter: Week of Aug. 19

A weekly roundup of jewelry store crimes with related tips from JCK:

• A jeweler in Scranton, Pa., was injured Aug. 17 after chasing thieves who eventually made off with more than $5,000 worth of merchandise.

Mark Altier, the co-owner of Altier Jewelers, was dragged down the street after trying to wrestle the robber out of the getaway vehicle. He suffered road burns to his legs and arms, according to police.

The thief had come into the store and asked Altier’s co-owner and mother Ann to look at jewelry for a gift for his father. She was reportedly uneasy about the amount of jewelry the man (who was wearing horn-rimmed glasses and black clothes) requested.

After the suspect darted for the door, Altier grabbed him, shattering a glass pane in the process. Altier hung onto the robber as he jumped in a waiting Jeep, which was being driven by a woman with a ponytail.

Altier’s injuries were not serious and police are continuing the investigation.

The Jewelers’ Security Alliance suggests when showing high-end goods to unfamiliar customers, tell them that your insurance requires you to ask for identification before displaying the items. JSA also recommends that jewelers not chase suspects during a robbery.

• On Aug. 15, the owner of Sona Chandi Jewellers in Surrey, British Columbia, was shot twice and then hit with a hammer by a group of men who attempted to rob the store.

After four or five masked thieves rushed into the store, customers reportedly ran out and shouted “robbers.”

The owner’s wife reported that the suspects used a Taser on her, while her husband was shot twice in the abdomen as he attempted to fight off the suspects. One of the suspects returned to beat him with a hammer before fleeing.

Police said the owner is still in the hospital and his injuries are not life-threatening. Witnesses said the store could have been targeted because of the recent hike in gold prices.

The investigation for the suspects is ongoing.

The Jewelers’ Security Alliance Manual of Jewelry Security suggests jewelers obey the orders of robbers. Do not say or do anything, or even raise your hands, unless told to do so. “Cooperate fully and try not to panic,” the Manual.

• Police in Nazareth, Pa., are looking for a robber who struggled with an employee of G.S. Oswald Jeweler Aug. 16 before making off with a substantial amount of jewelry.

The suspect entered the store and tried to disguise himself as a customer. In the struggle, an employee suffered minor injuries. The value of the stolen jewelry is undetermined at this time.

The thief is described as a 28-year-old white male, 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing approximately 160 pounds. He has a small goatee and numerous ear piercings, and was wearing large sunglasses, a dark baseball cap, and a black leather jacket. The suspect fled on a motorcycle.

Authorities are encouraging anyone who has knowledge of the crime to contact them at 610-759-9575 immediately.

The Manual says it is important for jewelers to rehearse with all employees what they should do in a robbery.

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