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About JSA in the Media
 
"Jewelry Store Heists in Paramus and Union County Strikingly Similar." Burglars drive trucks into retail jewelry stores, remove safes with heavy equipment. (NORTHJEERSEY.COM)
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"New York City Jewelry Store Heists on the Rise." A video report on WABC-TV, New York.
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A Los Angeles detective, an FBI agent, and executives from Sterling Jewelers were all honored by Jewelers' Security Alliance at its annual luncheon, held at the Harmonie Club in New York City. (JCK Online)
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JSA presents Law Enforcement Awards to FBI and LAPD personnel, and Industry Service Awards to Signet/Sterling personnel at JSA's Annual Luncheon. (Rapaport - Diamonds.Net)
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FEATURED CRIME VIDEO

SUSPECTS UNABLE TO SMASH SHOWCASES WITH LAMINATED GLASSHuntsville, AL – May 28, 2014
Three black male suspects entered a retail jewelry store and attempted to smash watch showcases with hammers. However, the showcases had laminated glass that did not break after many blows of the hammers. When the suspects realized that they would not be able to smash into the showcases, they left the store without taking any merchandise.RECOMMENDATION: Showcases with high-security glass can prevent losses from smash and grab attacks.

COUPLE WANTED FOR
DISTRACTION THEFTS
Suspect Image
The male and female suspects pictured above have been identified by the Columbia, SC Police in connection with the distraction theft from a local jewelry store on June 14, 2014. The male suspect is Robert Antoine Weathers, 53, and the female has been identified as Robin Tracy Nelson, 50. Police say they will be charged with grand larceny and criminal conspiracy once captured. Weathers was pictured on surveillance video walking into a restricted area behind showcases and taking a diamond tray from an open safe. It is believed that there were two accomplices with those pictured above. Police report that the suspects are wanted in several states including MD, MI, OH, NJ and PA for allegedly committing similar thefts. If you have information, contact Detective Pugh of the Columbia (SC) Police Department at 803-545-3500.
ARRESTS AND CONVICTIONS
FRONT PAGE CRIME HEADLINES

ROOFTOP BURGLAR ARRESTED IN KENTUCKY
Saint Matthews, KY - June 21, 2014

Police arrested one of three suspects believed to have carried out three rooftop burglaries of jewelry businesses in Kentucky. In addition to the burglary in St. Matthews, police believe the same suspects carried out one at a department store in April and another at jewelry store in March, as well as possibly 40 burglaries in three other states. The Louisville Police, the FBI and St. Matthew's Police all worked together on the case. Police arrested the suspect in Louisville, and additional details on the other two suspects are expected in coming days.

SUSPECT LEAVES PALM PRINT ON DOOR
Odessa, TX - June 17, 2014

Police have arrested a 24-year-old male suspect named Camrin Eckert who is accused of carrying out a grab and run at a retail jewelry store. The suspect looked around in the store at a lot of different items allegedly for a gift for his wife. When he tried on a tennis bracelet at a front case, he said he would take it and ran out the door. The suspect ran down the street to a parking lot out of sight. However, as the suspect exited the store he pushed the glass door and left a palm print which helped police identify him. Surveillance video and the suspect's Texas driver's license also helped identify him. The suspect was arrested on June 21 and is facing felony theft and other felony charges.

RECOMMENDATION: Keep showcases and other areas of a jewelry store clean and wiped so that fingerprint evidence can be obtained in the event of a crime.

BURGLARS CUT INTO SAFE FROM NEIGHBORING BUSINESS
Puyallup, WA - June 1, 2014

On a Sunday burglars cut holes in the roof of a store adjoining a retail jewelry store and lowered themselves down. They then cut through the wall to the jewelry store and were able to cut into a safe without having to enter the jewelry store. The safe was positioned on the wall that was cut through. The burglary took about four hours and the suspects left with a large quantity of gold. Although the store was fully alarmed with motion sensors, no signal was sent, apparently because the suspects did not have to enter the store.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. Do not position a safe on an outside wall or a wall of a neighboring office or store that would allow burglars to break through a wall and penetrate the safe without even entering the jeweler’s premises.

2. Jewelers should confirm with their alarm company that their alarm set-up will provide protection from entry from the roof, side walls and all possible points of entry, and that they have line security.

3. Police and jewelers must respond to all alarm signals, and examination of only the ground floor doors and windows is not sufficient. The roof, sidewalls and all possible points of entry must be examined, including through neighboring premises. Rooftop burglars have come through the roof in mall locations as well as in other types of locations.

4. TL-15 and TL-30 rated safes and not adequate protection from today’s burglars, who can purchase inexpensive cutting devices from Home Depot or Lowe’s that can cut into and penetrate these safes.

JEWELRY EXHIBITORS ROBBED OUTSIDE HOTEL
Carlstadt, NJ – June 14, 2014

Two jewelry dealers who were exhibiting at the American Crafts Festival at Lincoln Center in Manhattan returned to their hotel in NJ at 10:00 p.m. As they exited their vehicle at the hotel, four Hispanic males approached them in the parking lot. The suspects assaulted the male victim, threw him to the ground and took his backpack containing jewelry. The suspects left in a white sedan, possibly a Honda. Two days later, during a routine traffic stop, the jewelry was confiscated by police in South Carolina who had stopped a vehicle containing three Hispanic males. A backpack in the vehicle contained the jewelry taken in Carlstadt and the dealer’s business information. For crime prevention advice, see “Basic Security Recommendations When Carrying Jewelry Off-Premises” at the bottom of this Homepage.

SUSPECT HAS JEWELRY STORE EMPLOYEE GET CREDIT CARD APPROVAL CODE NUMBER DURING PHONE CALL MADE BY SUSPECT TO ACCOMPLICE
Buford, GA – May 17, 2014

A suspect entered a retail jewelry store and attempted to make a credit card purchase. The card did not receive approval. An employee gave the suspect time to phone his credit card company. A second employee became involved, and did not know the suspect had initiated the phone call, which was to an accomplice and not to the credit card company. An approval code number was given, however, this was an offline approval code, generated by the accomplice to the suspect. The card ultimately ran, however, but will not be funded by the bank. There have been other reports of similar fraudulent attempts in GA.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. In any credit transaction, whether involving credit cards, checks or any other payment method, never accept information provided in a phone call generated by the “customer.” As in this case, the suspect could be calling an accomplice.

2. Never let a customer touch your credit card terminal, or try to instruct you on how it should be operated.

SUSPECT ATTEMPTS TO ROB STORE USING BOMB THREAT
San Bruno, CA – June 12, 2014

A male suspect entered a retail jewelry store and claimed he had an explosive device. The sales associate reported seeing cloth or tape and wires under the suspect’s sweatshirt. The suspect demanded jewelry or said he would detonate the device. The sales associate told the suspect that the police were coming, and the suspect fled on foot without taking any merchandise. The suspect is described as in his 20s, 5’6”, with normal build and a thin, dark mustache. Anyone with information should contact the San Bruno Police at 650-616-7100.

RECOMMENDATION: While this attempt was unsuccessful, jewelers faced with bomb threats should treat them with the same seriousness as any robbery. As in other robbery situations, JSA recommends that jewelers do not resist. In addition to the possible presence of a real bomb, a suspect may have other weapons and be mentally unstable, violent and unpredictable.

CRIME PREVENTION ADVICE FOR JEWELERS

Basic Security Recommendations When Carrying Jewelry Off-Premises
1. Never resist in a robbery. There are many instances of salespersons being punched, kicked, stabbed or knocked to the ground, sending the injured salesperson to the hospital.

2. Jewelry merchandise left in an unattended vehicle is an easy target for gangs and often means that there will be no insurance coverage. DO NOT LEAVE GOODS IN AN UNATTENDED VEHICLE. Do not leave jewelry merchandise in the trunk or on the seat of your car, even for a minute, when you run into a store or go on an errand.

3. Many off-premises robberies of traveling salespersons occur in parking lots, often when going to or from 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 TAKE EVASIVE DRIVING ACTION AFTER EVERY SALES CALL, AND BEFORE RETURNING TO THEIR HOTEL, HOME OR OFFICE.

4. 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?

5. If you are being followed, call 911 and say “I am about to be the victim of an armed robbery.” and if possible make your call obvious to the suspicious persons. When criminals see you using your cell phone after you have spotted them, they are less likely to pursue you because they may fear you have called the police.

6. Don’t fall for distractions. If someone approaches you for change or directions, consider yourself a crime target and move on swiftly.

7. If you experience trouble with your car trunk lock, door lock or ignition key, or have a flat tire, radiator trouble or are bumped by another car, consider yourself a crime target. Immediately get yourself to a place of safety.

8. South American gangs watch retail jewelry locations. When you arrive at a location carrying jewelry, drive around the area and look for suspicious groups of males who may be sitting in nearby vehicles. Park as close to the main entrance to your destination as possible, and do not enter or exit by a rear or secluded entrance.

9. Jewelers should not take valuable jewelry merchandise to their homes.

10. Whether riding in a taxi, shuttle bus, or by any means of transportation, keep all jewelry merchandise with you, not in the trunk of the taxi or storage compartment of the bus or van.

11. Even if you are not carrying jewelry merchandise, if you are visiting jewelry premises and are carrying a bag of any sort, you are a target. The criminals that stake out jewelry premises may mistake the bag you are carrying, whether an attaché case or your gym clothes, for a bag containing jewelry merchandise. When you can avoid carrying a bag of any sort, do so.

12. Gangs have been known to place GPS devices on the autos of salespersons. There are electronic devices available to detect the presence of GPS devices. Salespersons should also inspect underneath their vehicle from time to time.

SECURITY FOR JEWELERS AT HOME
1. CASING. Attacks on jewelers’ homes are preceded by some form of casing, in which the criminals follow a jeweler, stake out his home or business, and try to find out information about him, his patterns and his family. All jewelers should be careful at all times to see if they are being watched or followed. Are people sitting in a car near your home or business for too long? Is a car following you when you leave the store? Do you have suspicious phone calls or suspicious “customers” visiting your store? The best opportunity for stopping a home invasion is to spot suspects during the casing period and to call the police.

2. VARY ROUTE. Vary your route and time of travel to and from work. Be alert to people
following or watching you. To determine if you are being followed, drive very slowly and observe if any vehicles are hanging back and unwilling to pass you.

3. PHYSICAL SECURITY AT HOME. Security features should be a very important factor in selecting the residence in which you choose to live. Jewelers should evaluate such issues as a dead-end vs. heavily traveled street, the closeness of neighbors, and the garage or parking set-up. Other issues of physical security must also be given careful consideration, such as having proper locks, an alarm system and good lighting. There are jewelers who highly recommend a dog at home for warning and protection.

4. SUSPICIOUS INCIDENT LOGBOOK. Many jewelers have found it helpful to keep a suspicious incident logbook at their business premises in which all employees can record things that appear to be “not quite right.” This should also be done at home. The log can be used to write down details such as license plate numbers, names used, time, physical description and other information regarding suspicious incidents that may later be helpful to police.

5. TRAINING FAMILY MEMBERS. Even the youngest family member in your household needs some instruction about the dangers of the jewelry business and how they must cooperate. Family members should be trained not to give out information on the phone, not to open the door to unknown people, to be extremely careful regarding delivery personnel, and to be alert for suspicious people watching the house. Even temporary visitors, such as an in-law or babysitter, need specific instructions.

6. NO LARGE SAFE OR JEWELRY MERCHANDISE AT HOME. Never keep jewelry merchandise or a large safe at home. Personal jewelry may be kept in a small, concealed safe in a floor or wall. Consider keeping valuable personal
jewelry in a bank safe deposit box when not being used.

7. TRUSTED NEIGHBORS. Whether near your home or business, trusted neighbors can provide additional eyes for spotting suspicious behavior by those casing you. Discuss with trusted neighbors your special risks as a
jeweler and enlist their help.

8. HOUSEHOLD HELP. Every household worker who comes into your home puts you at a greater risk. Cleaning ladies, lawn help, babysitters, painting and remodeling people, and a long list of workers with access and knowledge of your household all pose some risk. Even if they are honest themselves, they may have boyfriends, spouses, relatives or friends who are criminals, or they may unintentionally provide information to those who then target you. You must screen, monitor and supervise all household help very carefully. In the case of a nanny or someone with close contact with your household, or in the case of someone who lives with you, a background investigation of that person is suggested.

9. TELEPHONE. Have an unlisted and unpublished home phone number. Keep a charged cell phone with you at all times, including at your beside at night.

10. SOCIAL NETWORKS. Do not put personal information about your home, family members
and such things as vacations on social networking sites.

11. CAR PANIC ALARM. Some jewelers keep their car keys next to their bed so that they can hit the remote panic alarm of their car to help scare off intruders at the first hint of trouble.

12. ESTABLISH CONTACT WITH YOUR LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT. Before any problem develops, contact your local police department and get to know someone in a supervisory position. Explain to the supervisor or chief the special crime risks of jewelers so that if you do have a problem, you will be calling someone you know.

13. SECURITY CODE PHRASE. Jewelers should consider having a family security code phrase that can be used to alert a family member on the phone to a crime problem. The code phrase must not raise the suspicions of criminals holding the jewelry or family hostage.

Assume criminal gangs will use any means, including violence, to carry out a home
invasion and robbery. If a jeweler is a victim of a kidnapping/robbery, the jeweler and
family members and others involved should cooperate fully with the criminals or risk
violence.

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