Crime

JSA Warns of Surge in Distraction Thefts

CrimeOct 21, 2016

JSA Warns of Surge in Distraction Thefts

The Jewelers Security Alliance said the increase is due to a gang of “Romanian Gypsies” allegedly targeting retail jewelry stores in the United States.

New York--The Jewelers Security Alliance is warning store owners to be on the lookout for distraction thefts allegedly being perpetrated by members of the nomadic ethnic group Roma, also known as Gypsies.

The most recent distraction theft, described in JSA’s most recent weekly bulletin, happened Tuesday at a jewelry store in Gilroy, Calif.

According to the JSA, two women entered the store, one of which was carrying an infant.

They asked to see multiple gold chains and rings, and selected several that they said they wanted to purchase.

The sales associate brought the items to the register and one of the women asked to cut off the tags and wrap up the items in her own gift wrapping paper. As the sale continued, the suspects asked if the store accepted euros and, upon learning that it did not, they left, purportedly to go the bank to convert their money to dollars.


This security camera still shows the two women wanted in the distraction theft of a $12,000 ring from a jewelry store in Gilroy, Calif. earlier this week.
After the two suspects departed, it was discovered that a $12,000 ring was no longer in the wrapping paper and had been stolen.

The incident in Gilroy was one of a number of distraction thefts possibly carried out by a large gang of “Romanian Gypsies” that the JSA said is now operating in the United States and targeting jewelry stores.

Other similar distraction thefts happened in North Olmstead, Ohio on Oct. 16; Salem, N.H. on Oct. 12; Madison Heights, Mich. on Sept. 25; and Grand Junction, Colo. on Sept. 14.

Some shared characteristics of these jewelry store distraction thefts believed to have been perpetrated by the Roma include:
1. Entering stores in groups of two, three, four or more, often with babies or multiple children in strollers;
2. Requesting to see large numbers of items, often gold chains, which they have placed or spread out on the showcase;
3. Seeking to distract the sales associate with wrapping requests, requests to have the items placed in a box to hold for them until they return, or covering the items with a large purse while counting out a cash payment;
4. Finding a reason to leave the store abruptly, such as having only foreign money or not having enough cash, just as the items are being rung up; and
5. Conversing in what has been described as an “unknown European language.”

In
the Gilroy distraction theft, the JSA said the suspects spoke Spanish, English and also conversed in the “unknown European language.”

One is described as being 5 foot 10 and 170 pounds with a stocky build and long, dark hair worn in a bun.

The second suspect, the one who was carrying the infant, was about 5 foot 6 and 145 to 150 pounds, also with a stocky build and long black hair.

These two women are believed to have attempted a distraction theft at a jewelry store in Bend, Ore. a month ago but the staff prevented it.

The JSA recommends that stores guard against distraction thefts by showing only one item at a time and keeping showcases locked, except when taking merchandise out or returning it to the showcase.
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

The Latest

Elton John’s leopard print Rolex Daytona watch
AuctionsFeb 22, 2024
Elton John’s Leopard-Print Rolex Roars at Auction

Two Cartier watches also topped their estimates at Christie’s “The Collection of Sir Elton John: Goodbye Peachtree Road” evening sale.

Buccellati header
TrendsFeb 22, 2024
Buccellati to Open ‘Prince of Goldsmiths’ Exhibition

Set to be held in Venice, it’s a look through the maison’s history.

813-carat “Constellation” diamond in rough form
SourcingFeb 22, 2024
Lucara, HB Group Partnership Revived

It is another 10-year sales agreement in which all the larger rough recovered from the Karowe mine will go to HB Group for manufacturing.

GIA id100
Brought to you by
Full Disclosure at Your Fingertips

Distinguishing natural diamonds from laboratory-grown stones – now more available than ever – has been difficult for jewelers. Until now.

Sebastian Clarke and Katherine van Dell of Heritage Auctions
AuctionsFeb 22, 2024
Heritage Auctions Adds 2 New Hires to West Palm Beach Office

Sebastian Clarke and Katherine van Dell, frequent appraisers on “Antiques Roadshow,” will join the new office.

Weekly QuizFeb 22, 2024
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge with this short test.
Take the Quiz
National Jeweler columnist Sherry Smith
ColumnistsFeb 21, 2024
On Data: January Was a ‘Mixed Bag’ for Independent Jewelers

Sherry Smith dishes on the month’s highs and lows and the two categories consumers were loving ahead of Valentine’s Day.

Stock image of diamonds
GradingFeb 21, 2024
GIA’s Same-Day Service Now Available Everywhere

The new service, introduced to stem fraud related to lab-grown diamonds, will be offered at no cost for the time being.

flashforge pic.png
Brought to you by
WaxJet: Revolution in Jewelry Manufacturing

The WaxJet 400, recognized as the world's fastest wax printer, is bringing in a new era of precision and efficiency to industry.

Jam + Rico Claire’s jewelry
CollectionsFeb 21, 2024
Jam + Rico Debuts Second Claire’s Collection

Founder Lisette Scott was inspired by the intricacy, colors, and symbolism of African art and architecture.

Rapaport logo
SourcingFeb 21, 2024
Rapaport to Hold Another Natural Pearl Auction

Viewings start this week in New York and bidding will close on March 8.

National Jeweler columnist Peter Smith
ColumnistsFeb 20, 2024
Squirrel Spotting: Life After Rolex

Peter Smith shares advice from independent jewelers who used losing this cornerstone brand as a catalyst for reinvention.

Neile Adams McQueen and Steve McQueen
AuctionsFeb 20, 2024
Jewels from Neile Adams McQueen Shine at Bonhams

All 13 lots belonging to the actress and first wife of Steve McQueen sold at the recent “California Jewels” sale.

Stuller bench jeweler
Events & AwardsFeb 20, 2024
Stuller to Host Bench Jeweler Workshop in March

Registration is also open for its “Battle of the Benches” challenge.

Mary Ball Gorman of Henry B. Ball Jewelers
IndependentsFeb 16, 2024
Mary Ball Gorman of Henry B. Ball Jewelers Dies at 99

Gorman was an industry trailblazer, serving as the first female treasurer of Jewelers of America.

Jade Ruzzo gold and diamond Tennessee Torque necklace
CollectionsFeb 16, 2024
Piece of the Week: Jade Ruzzo’s Tribute to Tennessee

The movement of the 18-karat gold and diamond “Tennessee Torque” necklace is subtle.

Jared Goff and Claudia Cividino
MajorsFeb 15, 2024
Detroit Lions’ QB Jared Goff Going to Jared

Goff, whose fans hold up “He Went to Jared” signs at games, has signed a partnership with the retailer.

De Beers Venetia diamond mine
SourcingFeb 15, 2024
De Beers’ Production Down 8% in 2023

The company recovered 31.9 million carats of diamonds in 2023, compared with 34.6 million in 2022.

Gina D’Onofrio Heritage Auctions
AuctionsFeb 15, 2024
Heritage Auctions Names New Co-Director of Fine Jewelry

Industry veteran Gina D’Onofrio has rejoined the auction house.

Indian Diamond and Colorstone Association (IDCA) awards
Events & AwardsFeb 15, 2024
IDCA Hands Out Awards in Tucson

The association also celebrated its 40th anniversary.

A selection of engagement rings
TrendsFeb 14, 2024
5 Engagement Ring Trends for 2024

From three-stone rings to fancy shapes, experts weigh in on what consumers could be looking for this year.

Boucheron Power of Couture
CollectionsFeb 14, 2024
Boucheron’s New High Jewelry Collection Pays Homage to Ceremony, History

“Power of Couture” recalls Frédéric Boucheron’s love of fabric using diamonds and rock crystal.

Rough diamonds from Gahcho Kue diamond mine
SourcingFeb 14, 2024
De Beers’ Rough Diamond Sales Improve Slightly

The diamond miner and marketer said “solid” holiday sales in the U.S. helped stabilize the industry.

Jonker I Diamonds
SourcingFeb 14, 2024
‘100 Carats’ Exhibition Opens at LA Museum

A new display at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County features dozens of gemstones each weighing 100 carats or more.

Grand Seiko New York City flagship
WatchesFeb 14, 2024
See Inside Grand Seiko’s New NYC Flagship

Located on Madison Avenue, the store is its largest in the world.

GIA logo
GradingFeb 14, 2024
GIA Offering Discounts on Jade Reports

The 20 percent off promotion will run through March 31.

KIL Promotions NYC Spring Jewelry and Object Show
Events & AwardsFeb 14, 2024
KIL NYC Show Returns for Spring Edition

Its second trade event will feature vintage pieces and contemporary collections.

Lydia Courteille Lips ring
TrendsFeb 13, 2024
Amanda’s Style File: Symbols of Love

When it comes to Valentine’s Day jewels, the fun doesn’t stop at hearts.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy