Preventing Grab-and-Run Losses

According to the Jewelers’ Security Alliance, there were more than 60 grab-and-run crimes against retail jewelers in the United States in the first quarter of 2004, with losses ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. The JSA’s May 27 bulletin offered the following tips to thwart this type of theft:

  • Never place more than one item at a time in a customer’s hands. And, during a sales presentation, make sure the first piece of merchandise is locked away in a showcase before taking out additional goods.

  • Show second pieces of jewelry—if requested—on your own wrist or finger while the first item is still being viewed.

  • Do not bring entire trays of diamond merchandise or a diamond wallet to a counter when waiting on a customer.

  • Ask a second employee to stand at the customer’s side during the presentation when showing valuable goods to a new customer.

  • Consider using a diamond room or alcove for showings, which may make grab-and-run thefts less tempting and more difficult. Not showing high-end goods near the door might also make a potential thief think twice about the distance and route of an escape.

  • Position surveillance cameras in obvious areas to discourage grab-and-run thieves.

  • Install a buzzer system on the entrance. This can convince a thief that the jeweler could electronically block the door, preventing a quick exit.

  • Display signs stating “My insurance company requires that I request identification from customers before displaying this item.” While this may not be acceptable in every retail setting, many fine jewelers use this technique when showing high-end goods to unknown customers.

  • Be wary of customers who move closer to the door, or even request to go outside, to see merchandise “in a better light.”

  • If you do experience a grab-and-run, do not chase the thieves: They may have weapons and you could be hurt.

To contact JSA, call (800) 537-0067 or visit

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