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)
"New York City Jewelry Store Heists on the Rise." A video report on WABC-TV, New York.
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)
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)

Spartanburg, SC – September 3, 2013
While a jewelry store employee was in his office, the two black male suspects pictured in the above video wandered around inside a mall retail jewelry store checking to see if showcases were unlocked. After examining several showcases, they were able to reach into an unlocked showcase and take jewelry merchandise. They placed the merchandise in their pockets and fled. The suspects were seen driving from the scene in a dark gray rental Chrysler 200 with North Carolina plates. 

 All showcases must be kept locked except when actually removing or returning merchandise. While a store is open, the selling floor should never be left without store personnel present.


Suspect Image
The FBI is seeking the black male suspect pictured above in connection with violent jewelry store smash and grab robberies in NY, NJ and VA. Two suspects were arrested and charged in a January 30, 2014 jewelry store robbery on Fifth Avenue in New York, and this suspect is still being sought in that case. The suspect was last seen with a shaved head, and has noticeable scars on his left wrist. He is described as 6’1” and 250 lbs. and should be considered armed and dangerous The FBI is offering a “significant reward” for a tip leading to his arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 212-384-1000. Tipsters may remain anonymous.

February 2014

A jeweler shared information with other jewelers about a suspicious individual who had been visiting jewelry stores in New Jersey and attempting to purchase a high-end watch with a fraudulent credit card. A description of the man was sent by the jeweler to other stores and a description of the suspect’s story and methods was provided. The suspect then went into one of the stores that had been sent the information, was recognized, and police arrested him with 18 fraudulent credit cards.

Houston, TX- March 5, 2014

Kelvin O'Brien was found guilty by a jury of having participated in a 2011 burglary of a jewelry store in Houston, TX in which $6 million in merchandise, including a large quantity of gold, was taken. Much of the merchandise was melted down for cash. It took the jury less than an hour to return the verdict. Police believe that the suspect may be responsible for more than 30 burglaries in TX. OK and FL over the last ten years.

Brandon, FL – February 23, 2014

At 12:57 a.m. burglars gained entry to the store by cutting through the roof and dropping down on a rope from the ceiling. The suspects then smashed several showcases and took multiple items. The suspects were in the store only three minutes before exiting through the roof. On February 18, 2014 in the Greensboro, NC area burglars breached a wall between a jewelry store and an adjacent business. They disabled the security system, took the CPU from the computer system and the surveillance equipment. They also removed the alarm bell from the exterior of the building. They penetrated the safe and took golf and diamond items.


1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

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.

5. Don’t leave merchandise out at night in showcases.

San Carlos, CA - February 28, 2014

At 5:55 p.m. a traveling jewelry salesperson was crossing the street to a jewelry store carrying his line bag. At least one masked suspect confronted the salesperson with a gun, demanded his line and took his bag. The suspect fled to a newer model silver Honda Pilot with paper license plates that contained three other masked suspects. If you have information, contact the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office at 650-363-4064.

Dallas, TX – March 8, 2014

An Hispanic couple asked to see men’s wedding bands. During the presentation the female suspect asked for a credit application, which she filled out. The male suspect removed his jacket and placed it on top of the showcase. When the sales associate stepped away to process the application, the male suspect reached into the open showcase and removed several men’s rings. The female suspect purchased a men’s ring using the newly opened account, and the suspects left the store. The male is described as mid-20s, 5’9”, 185 lbs. and with short black hair. The female is described as mid-20s, 5’2”, 150 lbs. with long dark hair and prescription glasses.

RECOMMENDATIONS: It can be a “red flag” when a customer places a jacket, briefcase or other item on a showcase that limits the view of a sales associate. All showcases must be kept locked except when actually taking out merchandise from the showcase or returning the merchandise.

Paramus, NJ – February 14, 2014

At least three burglars smashed a pickup truck through the glass storefront of a jewelry center at 6:45 a.m. following a significant snowstorm. The burglars attached a cable to the safe and dragged the safe outside the store to a stolen backhoe. They then used the backhoe, stolen from a construction site, to load the safe into a getaway vehicle. A similar crime, also overnight and during a snowstorm, occurred in Springfield, NJ on February 9, 2013 in which burglars slammed a front loader through the plate glass window of a jewelry center. Also on New Year’s Day this year burglars crashed a pickup truck into a jewelry store in Union, NJ, but were unsuccessful in getting the safe and left a stolen forklift behind.

RECOMMENDATIONS: This use of heavy equipment by burglars to remove safes is a difficult crime to guard against, but some possible countermeasures:

1. If the outside configuration of the store permits, extremely heavy planters, stanchions or barriers can be installed to protect against driving into the store, like the kind used at government buildings and other locations to protect against terrorist attacks.

2. Even very large and heavy safes have been removed. Consider placing your safe in a protected room or alcove with walls and barriers that would make it significantly harder to pull the safe from the store.

3. Police and jewelers must respond to all burglar alarm signals, including in snowstorms and on holidays.


1. Have buzzers or chimes on your doors so that you are alerted when someone enters your premises.

2. Make eye contact with each customer who enters your store, greet the customer, and note his or her appearance.

3. Have at least two people on the sales floor at all times.

4. Wait on only one customer at a time.

5. Never turn your back on a customer.

6. Never leave a customer alone with merchandise.

7. Never leave the showroom unattended, even "just for a minute." You can be distracted or tempted to go to the rear of the store if someone asks for gift wrap or when answering the phone.

8. Show only one item at a time. If a second item is requested, show it on your own wrist or finger. Some highly successful jewelry retailers display a sign saying that their insurance company only permits them to show one item at a time.

9. When showing high-end goods to unfamiliar customers, tell them that your insurance requires you to ask for identification before displaying the items.

10. Do not bring entire trays of merchandise or a diamond wallet to the counter when waiting on a customer. Too much value will be exposed to a grab-and-run theft.

11. All wall cases, show windows, display cases and showcases must have locks, and be kept in a locked position except when actually removing or returning goods. It is best to have locks that do not permit the key to be removed unless the case lock is in a "locked" position.

12. Keep the keys to the showcases on your person, never on a hook or shelf in plain view. Keep the keys on a wrist or other holder so that it is less likely for you to put them down and forget them.

13. Be warned that many showcases have generic keys, that is, keys that fit all showcases of that type. Anyone with a key to that type of showcase may be able to unlock your showcase and steal your goods. If a generic lock will open your showcases, consider installing unique locks.

14. Showcase tops sealed with adhesive can be slit by thieves and lifted to remove goods. Make sure your showcases have secure metal edges or other means to secure the top even if the seal is cut. Inspect the tops and sides of showcases several times a day for evidence of tampering or attempts to lift the top.

15. After a customer has handled an item, re-examine it to make sure it is the same item before returning it to the showcase. Do not allow a customer to return an item to a tray.

16. Keep all jewelry trays completely filled, either with goods or with markers.

17. The most difficult showcases for a thief to get into are the cases in which the back flips up. It is easier for thieves to reach into cases that slide open from either side.

18. Do not let non-employees into work areas, your safe area, your rest room or behind your showcases. This can be a trick to gain access to your merchandise, or to case your premises for a future crime.

19. Your counter display cases should be built in a way that does not permit someone to crawl under them.

20. Make sure there are no blind spots in your store in which visibility from another part of the selling floor is obstructed.

21. Have an alert system in place in your store. If a suspicious person or situation is spotted, a code word or phrase can be used to alert the other employees that a crime may be underway.

22. If a customer is causing a commotion or engages in a loud disagreement, be alert for a distraction theft by an accomplice, and call another employee to assist you. Whenever you are suspicious of customer, request assistance from the manager or another employee.

23. Be particularly careful when customers are wearing or carrying inappropriate clothing, bags or items that could be used to hide goods or block your view while accomplices steal goods. Be especially careful if these items are placed on the showcase counter. In some stores sales associates immediately offer to take customers' coats and bags and put them in a safe place while the customers shop.

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

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