Rick Krementz’s sudden leave of absence as president of the American Gem Trade Association was the result of a robbery of one of his salesmen. He told JCK Tuesday that more than $1 million in jewels were stolen in the June 26 robbery in Amarillo, Texas.
Krementz, in an AGTA statement, said Monday, said that “recent calamitous occurrences in my business” led to his decision to take a three-month leave of absence.
“We are restructuring our business,” Krementz told JCK. “This loss brought other product and distribution issues to the forefront, and we are undergoing a total strategic revision. The plan is not complete yet, so I do not want to discuss it more at present.”
The stolen goods are all jewelry, mostly rings, in both platinum and 18k gold. All pieces are stamped RKG1866, and includes Brazilian paraíba, unheated blue, yellow and pink sapphires, many fine tanzanite and emerald pieces, as well as a color fashion line in 18k and bridal goods with cubic zirconia centers.
The robbery happened at 11 p.m. at a Fairfield Inn hotel parking lot on I-40, said Amarillo Police Department Sgt. Randy TenBrink. The salesman told police that he was removing clothes from his car when he was attacked from behind by at least four Hispanic males who knocked him to the ground and stuffed a wash cloth in his mouth. Police officers arrived and found the salesman with blood on his face and his pants torn.
Krementz said the salesman was not seriously injured.
Krementz says he believes that the robbers used a GPS device, even though he and police said that such a device was not recovered at the crime scene.
“I do not know for sure that it was a GPS tracking device, but that is my strong suspicion,” Krementz says. “We train our sales staff to do evasive maneuvers.”
Krementz adds that this same group of thieves had been active in the Southwest, hitting four on-the-road salespersons from different companies, all with prior stops in Albuquerque, N.M., where his salesman made a stop, with robberies then taking place in other parts of the region, including Colorado, Texas, and California. TenBrink said that police could not verify this.
The robbery remains under investigation and the suspects remain at large, TenBrink said.