New York—The Jewelers’ Security Alliance has issued a list of safety tips for jewelers traveling with merchandise following a recent string of robberies.
A 67-year-old jeweler in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn was robbed around 12:30 p.m. by two men who approached his car and demanded he open his trunk, said JSA.
Following a struggle between them, the men grabbed two bags from the trunk and left in a black sedan with temporary New Jersey plates.
The incident took only 30 seconds, but the thieves took an estimated $1.2 million in jewelry.
A few miles away in the Bronx, a 27-year-old man was sitting in his car around 11 p.m. when he was approached by armed suspects. One shot in his direction while another forced him out of his car.
They drove a short distance before leaving the car with $120,000 worth of the man’s jewelry.
In Naperville, Illinois, a group of jewelry salespeople were leaving a hotel around 11 p.m. after a private showing.
Three masked individuals approached the group and stole cases of merchandise following a struggle with one of the jewelers, taking off in a van with two other people inside.
Last month in Worcester, Massachusetts, a traveling jewelry salesperson from Florida traveled to New Jersey. He rented a car in Newark and drove to Worcester, where he checked into a hotel.
The next morning, robbers were in his room, zip tying him before taking his jewelry, car keys, and his phone.
In light of these events, here are some security tips from the organization.
It’s the same advice JSA has given in many of its safety briefings, but it still holds true.
Jewelers should not resist during a robbery, at the risk of injury or death.
Do not chase after the thieves either.
“These criminals will not hesitate to use deadly force,” said JSA.
Adequate jewelry insurance should be able to make up for the loss.
“One uninsured crime loss can wipe out a lifetime of work,” warned JSA.
When driving to and from locations with merchandise in tow, there are a few things salespeople should keep in mind,
After leaving a sales call, don’t drive straight back to a hotel, home, or office, but rather, drive evasively.
Drive slowly, take a few turns around the block, make a U-turn, or pull into the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant or a bank.
When traveling between home and a jewelry business, don’t always take the same route.
When you get to the destination, park as close to the door as possible.
Don’t enter or exit through a rear door or via a secluded entrance.
JSA also advises against sitting in your parked car for any length of time, before or after a sales call. Jewelry merchandise should also not be left in the car unattended.
Be wary of car trouble.
Whether it’s a flat tire or another car bumping into the vehicle, any car problems could be a sign that one is a crime target, so leave the car and get to someplace safe.
When returning a rental car, don’t gas up beforehand, said JSA.
Either just return to the car or purchase the gas through the rental car company.
“It is important to limit your exposure to risk as much as possible, whether at rental car companies, restaurants, hotels, parking lots and elsewhere,” said JSA.
Gangs have placed GPS devices on salespeople’s cars, said JSA, so take a look under the vehicle now and then.
There is technology available that can detect the presence of GPS devices.
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Stay aware of the surroundings.
Jewelers carrying expensive merchandise should be especially mindful of who and what is around them.
Robbers may try distraction tactics. If someone asks for change or directions, move along.
When checking in at a hotel lobby, look around to see if anyone has followed. Do the same when driving.
Take note of any cars following one’s vehicle. It could be more than one car, said JSA, as gangs can use multiple vehicles.
Jewelers should call 911 if they get the sense someone is following them.
Make the call obvious to the suspicious person(s) and say, “I am about to be the victim of a robbery.”
If a suspect sees a victim using a cell phone in this instance, they’re less likely to pursue, said JSA.
Remember that even when not carrying jewelry, being in a jewelry store holding a bag makes one a target.
Jewelers should also avoid taking jewelry merchandise to their homes.
Loose lips sink ships.
Only share travel plans with the people who need to know them.
Information about flights, departure and arrival times, hotels, rental cars, and locations to be visited should be kept confidential.
Retailers and traveling salespeople should stay in touch with one another and work together to ensure everyone’s safety.
When a salesperson drives away from the store, for example, the retailer should keep an eye out to see if anyone is following them.
For more information, visit the JSA website