Jewelry Crime Blotter: Week of Sept. 2

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

• On Aug. 31, thieves smashed displayed cases and made off with more than $100,000 worth of jewelry during an overnight robbery of a jewelry store in Sharon, Ohio.

The owner of the Gold Mine told police that he thinks the suspects were specifically targeting gold jewelry because of the escalating price of the precious metal. The robbers took higher-end estate pieces and left other valuable jewelry, watches, and office equipment alone. 

The incident follows a similar break-in at an electronics store next door. Sharon police believe that the jewelry store robbery is an isolated incident and are still investigating. The jeweler is making plans to improve his security system.

The Manual of Jewelry Security says jewelers need insurance, not guns, to protect themselves. “Do not keep a gun in your store or in any other business location.” The manual also recommends that jewelers rehearse with all employees what they should do in a robbery.

• Police in Ocoee, Fla., are searching for four suspects who staged an armed robbery at a local jewelry store Aug. 31.

A man and a woman walked into Pandora’s Box in the early afternoon posing as customers. The man then pulled a gun, while the woman let in two masked men through the fire exit at the back of the store.

A female employee was injured after one of the suspects punched her and stepped on her back. The thieves fled in separate vehicles with more than $100,000 worth of merchandise.

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

• On Aug. 30, a thief claiming to have a gun robbed a jewelry store in Watsonville, Calif., that was being manned by a lone clerk. 

The suspect entered the store in the early afternoon and demanded cash from the store’s employee. The man, who is described by local police as being a short, thin Latino man in his 20s dressed in black, threatened the clerk with a gun, but the weapon was never seen. The man fled after being given an undisclosed amount of money.

Police searched for the suspect following the employee’s 911 call, but turned up nothing. The clerk was not harmed during the robbery.

The Manual 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,” according to the manual. It also recommends that jewelers memorize all the locations touched by the robbers so that jewelers can advise the police about possible fingerprint evidence when they arrive.

UPDATE: Two Colorado residents were arrested Sept. 1 in Salina, Utah, with more than 100 diamond rings in the truck of their car. Denver police are now investigating to determine whether the pair is responsible for robbing a Denver jewelry store wearing clown makeup.

Salina police are holding 21-year-old Vincent Scott Matthews and 22-year-old Ronette Sheri Hatch of Aurora in the Sevier County jail. Both are from Aurora, Colorado. The Utah State Patrol stopped the pair for a traffic violation while they were traveling westbound on I-70. Police found a loaded handgun under the driver’s seat and $400,000 worth of merchandise in the trunk.

Denver Police are investigating with Salina, Utah, police to determine if these are the suspects in the Sonny’s Rocks Jewelry Store armed robbery on Aug. 24.