JSA Sees Uptick in Traveling Salesperson Robberies

The group has recorded nine off-premise incidents, in eight different states

The Jewelers’ Security Alliance is troubled by what it calls an unusual recent spike in off-premise robberies of traveling salespeople and retail jewelers.

“It’s really caught our attention,” says JSA president John Kennedy, noting the uptick began in October. “And it’s not just one gang. It’s springing up all over the place.”

He notes this surge is occurring in spite of a general fall in the number of traveling salespeople on the road, a decrease that’s partly due to crime fears.

The JSA recorded eight recent incidents, which have occurred in eight different states: Washington, Kentucky, Georgia, Nevada, Tennessee, California, Florida, and Mississippi.

The recent robberies include: 

– In SeaTac, Wash., two salespeople driving on a highway at noon were struck from behind by another vehicle. Three men wearing masks—one brandishing a handgun—approached the vehicle, broke its windows, and grabbed a backpack containing diamonds. Before they fled, the gang punctured the car’s tires.

– In Gulfport, Miss., the manager of a retail jewelry store making her nightly bank deposit was accosted by a man with a gun, who told her to hand over the deposit bag. He fled in a white Lexus.

– In Lexington, Ky., five masked men jumped out of a van and pulled a gun and knife on a traveling salesman in a hotel parking lot. They stole 250 pieces of jewelry.

The JSA gives the following recommendation when carrying jewelry off premises:

– Never resist a robbery.

– Salespeople should practice evasive driving after every sales call and when returning to their home, hotel, or office. Evasive techniques include driving slowly, driving around the block, making U-turns, and pulling into banks or restaurant parking lots.

– When you arrive at a destination, park as close to it as possible. Don’t exit or enter by a rear or secluded entrance. Don’t sit in a parked car for a long time before or after sales calls.

– Do not leave jewelry merchandise in an unattended vehicle.

– Do not take jewelry home.

– If you suspect you are being followed, call 911 and say, “I am about to be the victim of an armed robbery.” If possible, make it obvious to those following you that you are on the phone.

–  If you experience trouble with your car’s trunk lock, door lock, or ignition key; have a flat tire or radiator trouble; or get bumped by another car, consider yourself a crime target. Immediately get to a safe place.

– Do not take valuable jewelry merchandise home.

– Regularly check below your vehicle for a GPS device.

– Keep your travel plans confidential.

– Do not fill your rental car with gas prior to returning it.  

JCK News Director