National Jeweler Network

Market Developments

Florida jeweler, 89, shoots would-be robber

August 27, 2014

Palm Beach, Fla.--A store owner in Florida who also happens to be an octogenarian was able to put a stop to an armed robbery attempt on Saturday when he defended himself with his own gun and shot the suspect. 

On the afternoon of Aug. 23, a male suspect entered The Jewelry Exchange, located in Palm Beach County’s Lake Park, and asked for a watch repair. Jeweler Arthur Lewis was behind the store counter when the suspect, now identified as Lennard Patrick Jervis, pulled a gun and faced it directly at Lewis.

According to a police report from the Palm Beach County Sherriff’s Office (PBSO), Lewis immediately grabbed the suspect’s gun and pulled a handgun from his own pocket to defend himself. The two then got into a physical struggle, during which both fired shots at each other.

Both were hit--Lewis was shot once in the upper left arm and was treated at the scene, but Jervis was shot six times by Lewis, including four times in the chest. Jervis was able to flee the scene, but was later connected to the case when a friend called in his injuries and he was identified by Lewis.

A spokesperson for the PBSO said that Jervis is still in the hospital and will be arrested and taken to the Palm Beach County Jail once he recovers. He faces charges of robbery with a firearm, burglary while armed with a firearm, and felon in possession of a firearm.

Lewis could not be reached for comment at The Jewelry Exchange on Tuesday, and he was the only one in the store at the time of the incident, according to the police report. Local news reported that this was not the first time Lewis had been in this situation; a few years ago, a similar incident with an attempted robbery saw the jeweler exchanging gunfire with another suspect, neither of which was hurt.

“I thought he was going to kill me as soon as I saw the gun,” Lewis told The Palm Beach Post on Monday. “I thought, ‘This time, I’m dead.’”

Despite the actions of Lewis, the standing recommendation from the Jewelers’ Security Alliance is that the best option for jewelers is to not own guns, and to cooperate in a situation such as this to minimize the chances of getting hurt.