By Michelle Graff
michelle.graff@nationaljeweler.com
New York--The Jewelers’ Security Alliance has upped the reward it is offering for information leading to the arrest of a 20-something woman in a case it describes as “unprecedented:” a female suspect who allegedly enters jewelry stores alone and armed, ties up employees and then exits with thousands of dollars in diamond jewelry.

jewelry criminalThis sketch (left) provided by the JSA shows the woman as she looked when she allegedly robbed a jewelry store in Bluffton, S.C. while the security camera still shows the same suspect in a jewelry store in Panama City, Fla.

The suspect is alleged to have hit her first store, a Zales in Dawsonville, Ga., on Aug. 5, followed by a Reeds Jewelers in Panama City Beach, Fla. on Aug. 10 and a Jared the Galleria of Jewelers on Sept. 2. Authorities are investigating her possible involvement in a fourth robbery as well.

In each case, she snatched the showcase keys after restraining employees and emptied the jewelry into a big handbag before fleeing. She also is alleged to have cased each store before she hit it. 

JSA President John J. Kennedy said there are several factors that make this an unusual case.

To begin with, he said that whether it’s just men or men working with female accomplices, most jewelry store armed robberies are pulled off by two or more individuals. Rarely does the industry see a lone armed robber, and never is that robber a woman. 

“It’s extremely unusual. In my 23 years here I have never seen a lone female robber commit an armed robbery,” Kennedy said.

It is so unusual, in fact, that both CNN and Good Morning America reported on the robberies.

WATCH: Good Morning America’s report on the female jewelry thief

Kennedy said it is believed the suspect, who has stolen more than $1.3 million in merchandise to date, is working with an accomplice, though that individual does not enter the stores with her.

Over the weekend, the JSA upped the reward in the case from $5,000 to $10,000.

The suspect is described as being a white female in her 20s, 5-foot 8-inches tall and approximately 130 pounds with long straight brown hair. In the last robbery, the one in Bluffton, she was wearing a large hat, a long pinkish-purple skirt and shirt and carrying a large tan-colored purse.

No information currently is available about her alleged accomplice.





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