Crime

CA Malls See Wave of Smash-and-Grabs Carried Out by Groups

CrimeNov 22, 2021

CA Malls See Wave of Smash-and-Grabs Carried Out by Groups

The latest happened Nov. 15, when nine suspects smashed up the showcases at a mall jewelry store in Concord, California.

New York—Small gangs of smash-and-grab robbers have been hitting mall jewelry stores in recent months, the Jewelers’ Security Alliance said, including a recent robbery involving nine suspects who targeted a store in California.

According to the Concord Police Department, on Nov. 15 around 7:30 p.m., nine people armed with hammers entered the Iceberg Diamonds store in Sun Valley Mall. 

They started smashing the display cases and stealing jewelry. Employees who tried to intervene were kept back by the robbers. 

Some customers inside the mall called 911, mistaking the sound of the hammers hitting the showcases and glass breaking for gunshots. 

No one was injured in the robbery, but the nine individuals escaped before police arrived, Concord PD said.

In its most recent email alert, the Jewelers’ Security Alliance noted the Concord robbery is one of several smash-and-grabs carried out by groups of three to seven individuals—or, in this case, nine—at mall jewelry stores in California.

According to JSA, there were similar incidences in Milpitas, California on May 20; Hayward on May 21; Daly City on Sept. 15; and San Jose on Oct. 28 and 29.

Anyone with information in any of these cases is asked to contact JSA at 212-687-0328 or jsa2@jewelerssecurity.org.

 Related stories will be right here … 

In the same email alert that included information on the Concord robbery, JSA noted another recent smash-and-grab, this one committed by a lone male suspect at a jewelry store in Tacoma, Washington on Nov. 16.

JSA has a list of tips for staying safe and mitigating losses in the event of a grab-and-run robbery. They include the following.

— Do not resist in a smash-and-grab robbery. A hammer can be a dangerous weapon and the suspects may be armed with guns as well.

— Audible glass breakage alarms on showcases can scare away smash-and-grab robbers.

— Place cameras at eye level both inside and outside the store. Ceiling cameras are not as effective, as they generally capture useless photos of the top of heads or hats.

—  Spread out high-end watches and loose diamonds among several showcases. This can help reduce loss in the event of a smash and grab.

— Use burglary-resistant laminated glass on the front and sides of showcases as well as special frames that can withstand many blows with a hammer.

JSA said it hasn’t seen robbers take retaliatory action when laminated glass is used.

The right glass and frames can prevent grab-and-run robberies entirely or will only yield enough to create a small opening. This reduces the amount of product robbers can grab and could result in them getting cut when they reach in, leaving behind DNA evidence in the form of blood.

For more security recommendations, including holiday- and event-specific safety tips, watch National Jeweler’s latest webinar featuring Editor-in-Chief Michelle Graff in conversation with JSA President John J. Kennedy and Berkley Asset Protection co-founder and Executive Vice President Greg Smith.
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.
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