A Florida man was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to life in prison in Hinds County (Mississippi) Circuit Court, The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., reported.
Omar Jackson, 33, of Opa-Locka, was convicted of the Sept. 18, 2001, armed robbery of Albriton’s jewelry store in Highland Village Shopping Center in Jackson, District Attorney Faye Peterson told the newspaper.
Jewelry was taken in the robbery but recovered, and Jackson was captured the same day of the robbery after a chase.
While running through the shopping center, Jackson dropped a bag in a trash can, police said. A witness alerted police to the bag, which contained the stolen jewelry, the newspaper reported.
DNA evidence obtained from blood on a piece of glass from a jewelry case linked Jackson to the crime. He apparently cut his hand while breaking the glass case to get jewelry, authorities told the newspaper.
Jackson also had an outstanding warrant for a May 2001 armed robbery of a retail jewelry store in Hilton Head Island, S.C. The robbery resulted in a “Wanted Bulletin” issued by the Jewelers’ Security Alliance.
John J. Kennedy, JSA president, said he was happily surprised by the verdict. “I have to say that I was a little taken aback because there was no violence [or] injury to anybody,” he told JCK.
Kennedy notes that the Mississippi case is a more extreme example of a 12-year national trend toward harsher sentences and more frequent arrests for jewelry-industry crime and crime outside the industry. “I’ll tell you, the sentences I see, I can’t believe,” he says. “Now I regularly see sentences of 18, 20, 35, and 40 years. I am very heartened and astonished that we have a judiciary that is handing out sentences for the seriousness they merit. There’s an amazing amount of more enforcement. And it’s all over the place.”
Kennedy credits JSA’s work within the jewelry industry and among law enforcement agencies—both the FBI and local law enforcement—for at least part of the increase in arrests and prosecutions. “JSA has made intense efforts to encourage police and law enforcement authorities to take jewelry crime more seriously,” he says. “We have friendly relations with them and we help them with cases.”