Police Investigating More Than a Dozen Smash-and-Grab Robberies in NJ

CrimeJun 21, 2023

Police Investigating More Than a Dozen Smash-and-Grab Robberies in NJ

They’ve occurred at jewelry stores across the state over the first two weekends in June, said officials.

Police cars
Police in towns across New Jersey are investigating a string of smash-and-grab robberies.
Union, N.J.—Several New Jersey police departments are investigating a string of smash-and-grab robberies at jewelry stores across the state.

As of last week, a dozen jewelry stores had been robbed over the first two weekends of June, according to an ABC7 report, with at least one more occurring this week.

On June 12, the Union Police Department responded to a call from Union Jewelers Exchange’s alarm company at 3:58 a.m.

Surveillance video shows four masked men using a tire iron and sledgehammer to break the door, enter the store and smash the showcases, leaving with jewelry estimated to be worth thousands.

“We had officers across the street at the time, and they got there within minutes,” Union Police Deputy Chief Scott Breslow told ABC7, adding officers spotted a white Jeep Cherokee exiting the parking lot.

The officers followed the Jeep to Newark, but then lost it. After checking out the license plate number, it led them to the house of a person who was missing their license plate.

Breslow said the Jeep seen on surveillance tape, as well as its license plate, likely are stolen.

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The robberies have all occurred in a similar fashion, said Breslow, with the thieves smashing through the door, windows and showcases, then fleeing with the items.

Many of the robberies have occurred overnight and involved a similar white Jeep Cherokee.

At 4:14 a.m. on June 12, around 15 minutes after the robbery in Union, the Maplewood Police Department responded to an alarm activation at Trimarco Jewelers, the department said in a statement.

Officers noted broken front door windows and an unspecified amount of missing gold jewelry.

“Similar incidents have occurred in other nearby jurisdictions and the Maplewood Police Detective Bureau is working closely with these departments,” the department said, adding it can’t share further details as it is an active investigation.

Another smash-and-grab robbery occurred at Bentley’s Jewelers in Hillsborough on Tuesday around 2:45 a.m., according to a local report.

Jewelry stores in Scotch Plains, Linden, Woodbridge, Middletown, Eatontown, Green Brook, Hainesport, Robbinsville, Long Branch, and Westfield have all been victims of smash-and-grab robberies as well.

The Jewelers’ Security Alliance reported earlier this month that jewelry crime hit an all-time high in 2022, with smash-and-grab robberies one of the categories driving the increase. 

JSA said a total of 169 smash-and-grab robberies were reported to the organization last year, nearly double the number in 2021.

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