JSA: South American Gangs Target Chicago

The Jewelers’ Security Alliance issued a warning Friday for jewelry salesmen in the Chicago area.
JSA said in its “Email Crime Alert” Friday, that there has been intense activity by South American gangs against traveling jewelry salespersons in the Chicago area and its surrounding suburbs beginning August 23.
JSA said a salesperson was hit in Hinsdale on Sept. 13. There have also been at least seven other attacks on salespersons, some of which were in Chicago itself, and others in the suburban towns of Algonquin, Arlington Heights, and Berwyn.
Last week, there were robberies reported in Lisle, Ill., and Glenview, Ill.
The Lisle robbery occurred Thursday at 10:50 a.m. when two vehicles pulled up on two traveling jewelry salespersons taking jewelry merchandise to their car in the parking lot of a Hyatt Hotel, JSA reports. A group of six to eight persons, armed with knives, jumped out, took the jewelry and fled. The suspects appeared to be in their 20s and were driving a white, older model SUV and a dark older model SUV or van.
The Glenview attack happened on the prior day when after making several calls in Chicago, a salesperson drove to a restaurant and took his line in with him. When he left the restaurant, he was attacked by two Hispanic males who knocked him to the ground and covered his head and mouth so that he could not see or scream for help. The salesperson had seen them coming and sprayed pepper spray at them, but the salesperson wasn’t sure if he hit them. The suspects then fled in the salesperson’s car which contained his line, which they switched for their own car nearby.
JSA has made the following recommendations:
1. Most of the salespersons in these Chicago area cases have been robbed in parking lots, often at hotels, where they have been followed after making sales calls. Sometimes the sales calls were made on the previous day and the salespersons were not hit until the next morning after they have left the hotel. Salespersons must rake evasive driving action after every sales call, and before returning to their hotel, home, or office. Salespersons must try to see if they are being followed by using such evasive driving tactics as driving very slowly, by driving around the block, by making u-turns or pulling into a bank or fast food parking lot. Are one or more cars following you? If they are, call 911 and say “I am about to be the victim of an armed robbery.”
2. Before parking your car at any sales call, drive around the area carefully looking to see if suspicious groups of males are sitting in vehicles.
3. Several of the cases in Chicago have been unattended line losses in which merchandise has been left in a vehicle. Jewelry merchandise left in an unattended vehicle is an easy target for these gangs and often means that there will be no insurance coverage. Do not leave goods unattended in vehicles.