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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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Headlines

Blue Nile CEO Departs

The company has named an interim chief.

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Blue Nile CEO Jason Goldberger has left the company, GeekWire reports.

There’s been little explanation for his departure just a year-and-a-half after joining the online diamond retailer.

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The company stated that he “moved on to pursue his next challenge.”

“We are continuing to invest behind our strategic priorities and new capabilities to accelerate growth,” Blue Nile continued in a statement.

Eric Anderson is serving as interim CEO.

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Before joining Blue Nile, Goldberger served as chief digital officer and president of Target.com. He previously held roles with Gilt Groupe, Hayneedle and Amazon.

Blue Nile officially become a private company in February. It had previously traded on the Nasdaq. The Seattle-based company was acquired by an investor group in a $500 million deal. The investor group is made up of funds managed by Bain Capital Private Equity and Bow Street LLC.

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852 US Jewelry Retailers Closed Their Doors in 2018

The number of closures is up from 2017’s figure.

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The Jewelers Board of Trade reports that 852 U.S. jewelry retailers stopped doing business in 2018.

That’s slightly more than the 817 businesses that closed in 2017.

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Of those, 706 fell into the category of “ceased operations,” while 122 were listed as “consolidations (sale/merger)” and 24 were classified as “bankruptcies.”

Meanwhile, 183 jewelry retail businesses opened their doors in the U.S. in 2018. That was up significantly from 131 in 2017.

Counting wholesalers and manufacturers along with retailers, 1,013 U.S. jewelry businesses closed their doors in 2018. That’s compared with 1,022 in 2017.

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The total number of jewelry retailers listed in the U.S. is now 18,974, compared with 19,823 at the end of 2017, according to the Jewelers Board of Trade.

The total number of jewelry businesses, including wholesalers and retailers, is 25,102, compared with 26,270 at the end of 2017.

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Newly Discovered Gemstone Is Harder Than Diamond

It’s been found on Earth for the first time.

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Shefa Yamim, a precious stone exploration company in Israel, has discovered a new mineral that is harder than diamond and which has never been found on Earth before.

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The material is called carmeltazite, and it was recently approved as a new mineral by the International Mineralogical Association Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification.

The mineral was named carmeltazite because of it its discovery on Mount Carmel and due to its major chemical components: titanium, aluminum and zirconium (“TAZ”), the company stated in a press release. Shefa Yamim trademarked the name “carmel sapphire” for the material.

The mineral “is a newly discovered type of corundum similar in appearance to the corundum, but unlike any other sapphire found in the world,” according to the company. The rough carmel sapphire is typically black, blue-to-green or orange-brown. The largest stone found is 33.3 carats.

The Vintage News reports that “it was previously believed that this type of mineral was only found on extraterrestrial material.”

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It’s harder than diamond and substantially rarer, “making its value extremely high,” according to the publication.

Avi Taub, CEO of Shefa Yamim, said in the release: “We are delighted that our Carmel Sapphire has been recognised as a host to many rare minerals. In today’s world where the prices of gems are determined predominantly by their rarity, the Carmel Sapphire is a unique discovery because it has not been found anywhere else in the world and was discovered by Shefa Yamim in the soil of the Holy Land. We believe this substantially increases the potential value of our ‘Gem Box’ of precious stones. The studies of Carmel Sapphire and its new minerals mark another milestone in the Company’s journey as we continue our progress towards trial mining in Zone 1 in 2019.”

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