Crime

JSA Notes ‘Disturbing Upsurge’ in Smash-and-Grab Robberies

CrimeJan 12, 2022

JSA Notes ‘Disturbing Upsurge’ in Smash-and-Grab Robberies

The suspects have been hitting stores in multiple states, including 23 in California since last May.

New York—The Jewelers’ Security Alliance is warning of a “disturbing upsurge” in smash-and-grab robberies and is sharing tips to help jewelers mitigate losses in the event they are hit.

In its most recent crime alert, JSA said the robberies have been happening in multiple states. California has been hit especially hard, with 23 smash-and-grab robberies in the state reported to JSA since last May.

In its alert, JSA outlined incidences that have occurred in four states—California, Colorado, Maryland and New Mexico—between Dec. 24 and Jan. 3.

They include an attempted smash-and-grab at a jewelry store in Upland, California on Dec. 30 in which the suspects used bear spray on employees.

The Claremont Courier reported that Upland police arrested four suspects in that crime, and police said the suspects are believed to be responsible for recent similar robberies in Claremont and Chino Hills, California. 

In a Jan. 3 robbery in Westminster, Colorado, a lone male suspect entered a mall jewelry store and smashed a showcase of gold chains.

JSA said the suspect is a Hispanic man between 5 feet 11 and 6 feet tall, weighing about 170 pounds with a slender build and a red tattoo under his right eye. He fled the scene in a black BMW.

He is believed to have been an accomplice in an attempted smash-and-grab at the same store on Jan. 1. 

Anyone with information on this robbery is asked to contact JSA at 212-687-0328 or jsa2@jewelerssecurity.org.

 Related stories will be right here … 

In a recent interview following the release of JSA’s annual crime report, JSA President John J. Kennedy noted smash-and-grabs as a particular threat to jewelers in 2022. He said they can mitigate losses by having showcases outfitted with burglary-resistant glass. 

In its most recent crime alert, JSA noted other steps jewelers should take in regard to smash-and- grabs, and recommends they review them with employees. They include the following. 

— Do not resist, as suspects may be armed with guns in addition to sledgehammers and other potentially dangerous tools. 

— Having audible glass breakage alarms on showcases can scare away robbers. A buzzer on the door can also help to keep out smash-and-grab robbers, and hiring an armed, off-duty police officer as a guard can be a deterrent too.

— When smash-and-grabs are surging, it can be a good idea to keep some amount of heavily targeted merchandise—heavy gold chains, for example—in the safe instead of putting everything out in the display case.

— Keep a logbook and save surveillance video of suspicious incidents, as it can be a great help in subsequent investigations.

— Consider sharing information and photos among other local jewelers, police, and JSA. 
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.
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