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Jewelry Industry Hit by Rash of Grab-and-Run Thefts, JSA Reports

Thieves struck in at least six states.




The Jewelers’ Security Alliance reports that several jewelry stores throughout the U.S. have been hit by grab-and-run thefts in recent weeks.

Scroll down to read details of the incidents. To prevent such crimes, JSA offers this advice:

  • Leaving a customer unattended with merchandise presents a serious risk of a switch or other theft. Wait on one customer at a time.
  • Show only one item at a time, and do not give access to an entire tray of rings to a customer.
  • When an item is returned during a presentation, a sales associate must determine it was the same item that was given to the customer.
  • It is a red flag when a customer boasts that price is not an object, or asks to see the most expensive items in the store.
  • Be on heightened alert when a customer boasts of a recent inheritance or insurance settlement or claims to be a rich entrepreneur, doctor, athlete or entertainment figure.

Sugarland, TX, March 2

A “very tall” suspect was looking at bridal pieces in a retail jewelry store. He said he had played ball overseas. Upon learning that he could open a credit account, the suspect stated he needed to get his ID from the car, but requested to see a 2-carat diamond ring again, JSA reports. When he had the ring in his hand, he reportedly fled the store.

Wichita, KS, March 1

A man looked at gold chains for himself in a retail jewelry store, and said he had played basketball overseas. He said none of the chains were large enough, and that he wanted to get his wife a ring and that price was not an object since he’d made good money playing basketball.


The suspect was shown several rings, one at a time, but asked the sales associate to put multiple rings on the ring stick. The sales associate said she could only show one item at a time. The suspect asked to see a 2-carat diamond ring again, and when he had it in his hand, he fled the store.

The suspect is described as 6 feet 9 inches tall, in his late 20s to early 30s and with tattoos of thin lines on his neck and arms. He is believed to be the same suspect involved in the March 2 incident in Sugarland, TX, described below. The suspect is believed to have a long history of grab-and-runs in the Texas and Oklahoma areas, according to JSA.

Middletown, DE, Feb. 28

A diamond engagement ring and diamond wedding bands were taken in a grab-and-run. The suspect escaped in a gray Volkswagen SUV. The suspect is described as 24 years old with tattoos of fire on his hands, along with the name Dev. He also has neck tattoos.

Hanover, MD, Feb. 25

A high-end watch was stolen in a grab-and-run. The suspect is believed to be the same man involved in the Feb. 28 incident in Middletown, DE, described above.


Providence, RI, area, Feb. 26

At 4:20 p.m., a male suspect was in a jewelry store and said he was looking for an engagement ring for his girlfriend. A female with him reportedly acted as a distraction, and the male suspect ran out with a tray of nine rings. The suspect is described as 5 feet 11 inches tall, with a slim build.

Key West, FL, Feb. 10

A woman was in a retail jewelry store complaining about a previous purchase and then asked to see a white gold and diamond ring. She was shown the ring, which had a value of $15,000. When the sales associate helped another customer, the suspect switched the stores ring with her own ring and left the store, JSA reports.



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