Jewelry Crime Blotter: Week of Oct. 21

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

-A Boston police officer’s daughter was identified as a suspect involved in a jewelry store robbery that involved a shootout with local police.

The woman’s name was not released, but was identified as being in the getaway car used by the thieves who robbed Musto’s Jewelers last month.

Hector Baez-Cruz and Antonio Matos allegedly rushed into the store, threatened customers and employees, disabled the phones, and then smashed display cases before fleeing with $100,000 in merchandise.

Matos allegedly leapt unto the hood of a police car and emptied a clip from an automatic handgun into the car. The police officer in the car was hit four times and lost an index finger. Police at the scene returned fire and Matos was hit in the stomach. He is in fair condition at a local hospital and is being held on $5 million bail.

Baez-Cruz fled the scene, but later confessed to being involved in the crime after police discovered his DNA on a glass case in the store. He is also being held on $5 million bail.

Police are currently investigating the role the officer’s daughter played in the crime.

The Jewelers’ Security Alliance says jewelers should not wipe or try to clean cases or other surfaces before the police respond. Doing so may disturb the crime scene and may destroy fingerprints or other valuable evidence. Also, jewelers should try to memorize all the locations touched by the robbers to better inform police when they arrive.

-A jewelry clerk shot at a robber’s getaway car after the robber made off with more than $20,000 in merchandise from a jewelry store in Smyrna, Tenn., on Oct. 19.

According to police, the male robber entered American Jewelry in the late afternoon and asked to have his watch repaired. He then asked to see some bracelets. When the clerk took several trays from the display case, the suspect pulled out a semiautomatic handgun, and told the clerk to put the merchandise in a bag. The robber then bound the clerk and forced him to lie down in his office.

Once the clerk freed himself, he reached for his shotgun, and began to shoot at the fleeing suspect’s vehicle. According to police, the car has damage from a shotgun blast on the right passenger side. It is unknown whether the suspect was hit.

Police described the robber as a black male, between 5’8″–5’10”, 160–180 pounds, with a goatee, in his mid-to-late 30s. He was wearing a dark-colored stocking cap with a bill and black leather jacket, dark denim pants and black T-shirt with a multicolor design on the chest.

If anyone has information on this crime, please call Smyrna Police Department at 615-459-6644.

The JSA’s Manual of Jewelry Security says jewelers need insurance, not guns, to protect themselves. JSA studies have shown the risk of death or serious injury to a jeweler go up dramatically if the jeweler tries to resist or doesn’t cooperate fully with the robber. Bullets fired from a gun can also damage property or hurt innocent bystanders. JSA strongly recommends that jewelers do not keep a gun in their store or in any other business location.”   

-Police in Manhasset, N.Y., are searching for at least one suspect after an armed robbery of a Long Island jewelry store.

Several armed suspects swarmed into a jewelry store in the Americana Mall last Friday and began smashing display cases with hammers. The thieves made off with an undisclosed amount of jewelry, Rolexes, and cash before fleeing the scene in a black Cadillac Escalade.

The suspects switched cars, and were then chased by police. They rammed a police car on the Long Island Expressway, crashed into the barrier, and then several fled on foot. Police were able to locate four of the suspects and they are now in custody.

No one was hurt in the robbery, and some of the store’s merchandise was returned. Police also recovered one weapon.

“The people here were in shock, hysterical,” she told 1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan.

The Manuel suggests that jewelers try to keep all witnesses present until the police arrive. Jewelers should at the very least obtain names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses.

– A couple that robbed a Philadelphia jewelry store and left their 4-year-old son behind in February were sentenced Oct. 18.

John Benson was sentenced to 30–75 years in state prison for stealing a tray of rings from Platinum & Ice, slashing the store owner’s face with a knife, and leaving his son behind as he fled. Benson had previously been sent to prison 10 times on 12 criminal convictions. In August, a jury found him guilty of attempted murder, conspiracy, retail theft, child endangerment, and aggravated assault and robbery for the heist.

Sheakia Stubbs, Benson’s girlfriend, was sentenced to 11.5–23 months in county jail with immediate parole and two years of supervised probation. She had served 17 months in jail before a jury convicted her of conspiracy, retail theft, and child endangerment.

Both criminals were ordered to pay the jeweler $1,250 in restitution and $29,112.50 to the jeweler’s insurance company who paid the merchant to cover the stolen rings. Benson’s son was adopted by Stubb’s brother.