By Ashley Davis

New York--The string of smash-and-grab jewelry store robberies that started in the Midwest has been spreading east, the Jewelers Security Alliance said.

Beginning last October, there have been 20 incidents total.

The robberies started in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio but have now moved into Kentucky, Massachusetts, Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania and Missouri.

20180226 smashandgrabsPictured are the suspects alleged to be involved in the latest in a string of smash-and-grab robberies. This one occurred in Pittsburgh.

The JSA has released images of three suspects they believe to be involved in the latest robbery—three African-Americans, two males and possibly one female who held the door—in Pittsburgh on Feb. 22.

In that incident, the two male suspects smashed open a high-end watch case with hammers and took the merchandise, leaving in less than two minutes.

Almost all of the 20 smash-and-grabs that have occurred since October have taken place near closing time, between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

In many of these smash-and-grabs, suspects approached stores wearing masks or visibly holding tools like hammers. The JSA advised jewelers to lock doors and install buzzers for customer entry, or to station security guards at the front door during evening hours and lock doors if a suspicious person approaches.

Other tips JSA had for jewelers include: not resisting, as the suspects could be armed with additional weapons including guns; using showcases with burglary-resistant, laminated glass that can withstand many blows, which the JSA said it has not seen result in retaliatory action from would-be robbers; spreading high-end merchandise across different cases to reduce monetary losses; and installing eye-level security cameras, which capture far better images for identifying suspects’ faces than ceiling-mounted cameras.

Those with any information regarding these crimes are asked to contact the JSA at 212-687-0328.

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