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Smash-and-Grab Robbery Wave Targets Jewelers During Holiday Selling Season

Most of the incidents occurred in Michigan.

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Smash-and-grab robbers have been targeting jewelers in Michigan and other states during the busy selling season, according to the Jewelers’ Security Alliance.

Recent Michigan robberies or attempts have included:

  • Auburn Hills, MI, Dec. 15, two male suspects
  • Taylor, MI. Dec. 16, two male suspects
  • Troy, MI, Dec. 10, pepper spray used to subdue guard
  • Clinton Township, MI, Dec. 6, three male suspects
  • Auburn Hills, MI, Dec. 14
  • Grandville, MI, Dec. 15, two male suspects

Other incidents have occurred in Ohio, Wisconsin, Georgia and Pennsylvania, according to JSA.

The suspects have concealed their identities with hoods. However, nine suspects, believed to have carried out four of the incidents, have been arrested, according to JSA. All are from Detroit.

“In addition to the violence and effect on staff, the victim stores not only lose needed inventory, but often have to close for repairs during the most important time of the year,” JSA stated. “This pattern of robberies is similar to the wave of smash-and-grab robberies throughout the country that was met with over 50 indictments and arrests of Detroit gang members in 2015.”

To see a police chase and arrest of Detroit suspects from October 2018, go to: https://jewelerssecurity.org/video-subjects-flee-from-police-in-high-speed-chase-through-field/

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JSA’s recommendations regarding smash-and-grab robberies:

  • Do not resist. In addition to sledgehammers and other dangerous tools, the suspects may be armed with guns.
  • Hiring armed, off-duty police officers in the store is a deterrent to smash-and-grab robbers.
  • Having buzzers on the door can help to keep out potential robbers.
  • Showcases with burglary-resistant, laminated glass and special frames can withstand many blows with a hammer and can prevent or reduce large losses. JSA has not seen robbers take retaliatory action when laminated glass is used and robbers are unable to enter a showcase or are able to take only a small amount of merchandise from a small hole. Robbers frequently cut themselves on small holes and leave behind valuable DNA evidence from blood.
  • Having an audible glass-breakage alarm on your showcases can scare smash-and-grab robbers away, who are trying to remain in a target store for less than a minute.
  • The robbers have been targeting loose diamonds and high-end watches. Spreading high-end watches and loose diamond merchandise among several showcases, and not concentrated in one showcase, can reduce the amount of the loss in a smash-and-grab robbery.
  • Surveillance photos from eye-level cameras inside and outside the store provide excellent evidence for police. Ceiling cameras too often capture useless photos of the top of heads or hats.
  • Keeping a log book of suspicious incidents, and putting aside and saving surveillance video of suspicious incidents, can be a great help in investigations.
  • Sharing information and photos among local jewelers and police, and with JSA, regarding casings and suspects can help prevent crime and assist with investigations.

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NFL Player Awarded $6.1M in Jewelry Fraud Lawsuit

The jeweler says he’ll appeal.

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Drew Brees, quarterback for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, has won $6.1 million in damages from a jeweler he claims sold him diamonds at grossly inflated prices.

Drew Brees

In a jury trial in San Diego, Drees said he bought $15 million in diamonds from Vahid Moradi and CJ Charles Jewelers over a four-year period ending in 2016, The Advocate reports. He said he’d become friends with Moradi and trusted him completely.

Brees said he and his wife, Brittany, were then told by an appraiser that they’ve overpaid by about $7 million.

The Breeses alleged fraud and breach of contract, as well as violation of California business law, according to The Advocate.

Moradi and his lawyer, Kevin Rooney, said they plan to appeal the jury’s decision. They said they “passionately disagree” with the verdict.

Moradi said he sold jewelry to the Breeses at a normal retail markup.

Read more at The Advocate

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Online Diamond Seller Files for Bankruptcy

Dozens of individuals and businesses are reportedly owed money.

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Enchanted Diamonds, a Manhattan-based diamond dealer, has filed for bankruptcy, the New York Daily News reports.

The company, which sells its products online, owes $1.8 million, according to the newspaper.

Much of the debt is to customers who claim they paid the company and didn’t receive their gems.

A filing in federal bankruptcy court indicates that the firm owes money to dozens of individuals and business entities across the U.S. and in other regions, including Asia.

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More than 50 customers are “pursuing restitution through a law firm hired by Rare Carat, an online aggregator for jewelers,” according to the Daily News.

Joshua Niamehr, president of Enchanted Gems, did not respond to a request for comment on Friday, according to the newspaper.

Read more at the New York Daily News

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Jeweler Accused of Stealing from Customers

He was arrested May 30.

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A jeweler in Lawrenceville, GA, has been charged with theft, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Timothy New, owner of The Bench Jewelers, is accused of shortchanging some customers who left their jewelry with him for consignment. He also allegedly failed to complete custom design jobs that he promised, and failed to return the money.

New, 55, has been charged with theft by conversion and theft by taking.

He was arrested May 30, according to the Journal-Constitution.

The business has been closed.

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“Detectives have served several search warrants, which yielded the recovery of a large amount of jewelry,” Lawrenceville police Lt. Jake Parker said in a press release. “We are seeking help and looking to return the jewelry to the confirmed owners, as well as identify additional victims.”

Read more at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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