By Michelle Graff
michelle.graff@nationaljeweler.com
Mishawaka, Ind.--A half-dozen individuals who might be linked a Detroit-based robbery crew were arrested earlier this month in connection with a smash-and-grab at a jewelry store near South Bend, Ind.

The six suspects, five men and one woman, face federal charges of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery following their arrest on April 15.

According to an affidavit filed as part of the criminal complaint, three of the five men entered a Jared the Galleria of Jewelry store in Mishawaka at 4:05 p.m. while two held open the doors.

One of the suspects allegedly smashed two display cases with a large cross-peen hammer while two other suspects snatched more than $249,000 in jewelry. All five fled in a stolen Dodge Caravan, according to the affidavit.

A witness who had been sitting in his car near the store saw what happened and followed the suspects, calling 911 with descriptive information.

Police then were able to locate the suspects at a nearby Best Western where they had abandoned the van and were trying to flee in two separate vehicles, one of which was driven by the sixth suspect, the female. According to the affidavit, she had been offered $2,000 to act as the getaway driver.

The six were arrested in the hotel parking lot and all the jewelry was recovered.

The criminal complaint gives the names of those arrested as: Brivan Franklin, Charles Hall, Ronald McMullen, Dyron Broaden, Dmil Polley and Marty Lowman. Five of the suspects hail from Detroit and one is from Cincinnati.

According to local CBS affiliate WSBT, sources have indicated that the mid-April heist in Mishawaka might be part of a larger crime ring involving smash-and-grab robberies throughout the Midwest, and the FBI as well as police officers from other jurisdictions are involved in the investigation.

There is currently a large smash-and-grab crew operating out of Detroit--where five of these six suspects originated--that is partly responsible for the 77 percent year-over-year increase in the number of smash-and-grab robberies the jewelry industry saw in 2014. 

Earlier this year, 17 individuals who allegedly are a part of the same crew were indicted on robbery charges stemming from smash-and-grabs in six states.





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