With the COVID-19 pandemic receding, many jewelry salespeople are getting back on the road. Unfortunately, they face the same dangers from crime gangs as they always have, the Jewelers’ Security Alliance said recently.
This month has already seen three notable off-premises robberies of jewelers and jewelry sellers.
• On Oct. 15, a 67-year-old jeweler was sitting in his car in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., when two suspects approached him and demanded he open his trunk. Following a struggle, the suspects grabbed two bags from the trunk and fled in a black sedan with temporary New Jersey plates. The bags held a reported $1.2 million in goods. Video from the incident can be seen here.
• On Oct. 16, in Naperville, Ill., as some jewelry salespeople were leaving a hotel at 11 p.m. following a private showing, three masked robbers approached them. Following a struggle between one of the salespeople and a robber, the thieves forcibly took cases of merchandise from them and fled in a van that had two additional people inside it.
• On Oct. 19, a 27-year-old jeweler was inside his car in the Bronx, N.Y., at 11:00 p.m. when he was approached by robbers with guns. One robber fired a shot in the jeweler’s direction, and another forced the jeweler from the car. That robber then drove the car for a short distance before leaving the vehicle with the jewelry.
Anyone with information on any of these crimes is asked to contact the JSA at 212-687-0328 or.
The JSA recommends that traveling salespeople, as well as jewelers delivering merchandise, going to special events, or attending trade shows, adhere to the following advice.
• Jewelers and salespeople should never resist during a robbery. Nor should they chase after the robbers. These criminals won’t hesitate to use deadly force.
• Salespeople must practice evasive driving techniques after every sales call, and before returning to their hotel, home, or office. These tactics include driving slowly, driving around the block, making U-turns, or pulling into bank or fast-food parking lots.
• Jewelry employees should vary their route and time when traveling between home and their jewelry business. Jewelers should constantly check to see if they are being followed.
• When jewelers drive to a retail location or home, they should scout the area and park as close to the main entrance of the destination as possible. They shouldn’t enter or exit by a rear or secluded entrance, or remain seated in a parked car for any length of time before or after sales calls.
• Salespeople and jewelers are warned not to fall for distractions. If someone asks for change or directions, they should quickly move on.
• Salespeople should not leave jewelry merchandise in an unattended vehicle.
• If jewelers suspect they are being followed, they should call 911 and say, “I am about to be the victim of a robbery.” If possible, they should make the call obvious to the suspicious persons; that will make it less likely that they will be pursued.
• If jewelers have trouble with their car trunk lock, door lock, or ignition key, or have a flat tire, radiator trouble, or were bumped by another car, they should consider themselves a crime target and immediately get to a place of safety.
• Jewelers should not take valuable jewelry merchandise to their homes.
• Even if they are not carrying valuable merchandise, a jeweler visiting jewelry stores or companies, or carrying a bag into one, may be a target.
• Gangs have been known to place GPS devices on salespeople’s cars, which allows them to track these vehicles. Salespeople should regularly inspect underneath their vehicle, and carefully check their car when it’s on the rack for an oil change.
• Salespeople should keep their travel plans confidential, including flights, departure and arrival times, hotels, rental cars, and locations they’ll be visiting.
• Salespeople should not fill a rental car with gas prior to returning it, as this increases their exposure to risk.
• When jewelers enters a hotel lobby to check in, they should check that they are not being followed.
• When a retailer is visited by a salesperson, someone from the store should keep an eye on the salesperson’s car to make sure they are not being followed.
• Jewelers should have adequate jewelry insurance. One uninsured crime loss can wipe out a business.
(Photo: Getty Images)
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