Crime

15 Suspects Wanted in Smash-and-Grab Robbery of CA Jewelry Store

CrimeFeb 22, 2022

15 Suspects Wanted in Smash-and-Grab Robbery of CA Jewelry Store

It’s part of what the Jewelers’ Security Alliance called a “disturbing pattern” in California.

Merced, Calif.—California police are looking for 15 suspects who used hammers to smash showcases and steal merchandise at a mall jewelry store. 
 
According to the Merced Police Department, officers responded to a robbery at Prestigio Jewelers in the Merced Mall at 12:51 p.m. on Feb. 8. 
 
Witnesses reported seeing as many as 15 men in masks causing a disturbance and later using hammers to break the store’s windows and display cases before taking an unknown amount of jewelry.  
 
Suspects fled before police arrived, leaving in multiple vehicles. 
 
The police department released the surveillance footage below on social media to identify possible suspects and vehicles involved.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Merced Police Department’s Detective Valadez at 209-388-7829 or valadezr@cityofmerced.org.
 
The incident is the latest in what the Jewelers Security Alliance called a “disturbing pattern” of smash-and-grab robberies in California.
 
The organization said in January that 23 smash-and-grab robberies in the state had been reported since last May.
 
 Related stories will be right here … 
 
JSA’s John Kennedy has given the following tips and suggestions for jewelers regarding smash-and-grab robberies. 
 
— Mitigate losses by having showcases outfitted with burglary-resistant glass. 
 
— Do not resist, as suspects may be armed with guns in addition to sledgehammers and other potentially dangerous tools. 
 
— Having audible glass breakage alarms on showcases can scare away robbers. A buzzer on the door can also help to keep out smash-and-grab robbers, and hiring an armed, off-duty police officer as a guard can be a deterrent too.
 
— When smash-and-grabs are surging, it can be a good idea to keep some amount of heavily targeted merchandise—heavy gold chains, for example—in the safe instead of putting everything out in the display case.
 
— Keep a logbook and save surveillance video of suspicious incidents, as it can be a great help in subsequent investigations.
 
— Consider sharing information and photos among other local jewelers, police, and JSA.
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.
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