Jewelry Crime Blotter Week of Sept. 16

A man is arrested after trying to claim his own reward money, and other crime stories with related tips:

– The Jewelers’ Security Alliance noted on its website that there has been an increase in so-called “gypsy” distraction thefts, such as the one that occurred in Natick, Mass., that was included in the Sept. 9 Crime Blotter. According to the JSA, one group may have robbed jewelers in Maryland, Missouri, Texas, and New York.

The organization asks anyone with information about these thefts to contact FBI Special Agent Dan McCaffrey,

– A man was arrested after he allegedly robbed a Sharon, Pa., jewelry store and then tried to claim a reward for helping solve the case, a TV station reported.

Emile Pratt is suspected of robbing The Gold Mine on the morning of Aug. 31, smashing its display case, and grabbing up to $15,000 in jewelry. 

The store owner said the man allegedly “wanted to be the good Samaritan to throw police off track and then try to double dip to try and get a possible reward too.”

The police reportedly charged Pratt and his wife after they say the couple tried to sell the stolen jewelry at local pawn shops. 

The JSA notes that if robbers see jewelry in display cases, they will be tempted to take it. It recommends retailers never leave jewelry out and visible overnight. In addition, do not cover your cases; this gives the impression something valuable is inside. 

JCK covered how jewelers can prevent burglaries in May 2005. 

– A man is suspected of trying to buy a $23,000 Rolex from Betteridge Jewelers in Greenwich, Conn., on Sept. 10 using fraudulent credit cards, according to a local news source.

The man, identified in the report as Emeli Kwasi Attipoe, allegedly used a card that would not process. A further investigation revealed inadequacies in the security holograms on the cards, and numbers on the front of the cards verified they were fake. 

Attipoe was reportedly charged with three counts, including unlawful reproduction of a credit card.

In the Manual of Jewelry Security, the Jewelers Security Alliance recommends cards be checked for all the factors contained in advisories from your credit card company. In addition, examine each card to find obvious forgeries. Things to look for include warping, bubbling, alterations, and other imperfections.

– A man was arrested in the robbery of Willie’s Jewelry Repair in Fayetteville, N.C., a newspaper reported.

Brandon Kyler, 19, has been charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and other counts, the report said. 

On Sept. 6, robbers burst into the store, and made store employees lie on the floor, while they emptied ring trays. The men were eventually captured on surveillance video outside the store.

Anyone with information should call Fayetteville police at 433-1856 or Fayetteville-Cumberland County CrimeStoppers at 483-TIPS (8477).

The JSA Manual says having good video security is an important part of every jeweler’s security plan. Systems should run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Owners should conduct routine cleaning and maintenance recommended for the system.

It also notes that some jewelers have a video recorder concealed in a locked cabinet, hidden from criminals, in addition to a more camera conspicuously placed.

JCK News Director