New York—Smash-and-grab robbers are hitting jewelers across Michigan and other states during the busy season, the Jewelers Security Alliance said.

In a recent email alert, the JSA said seven robberies or attempts have been made in Michigan in the past five weeks.

These include in Clinton Township on Dec. 6, Troy on Dec. 10, Auburn Hills on Dec. 14 and 15, Grandville on Dec. 15 and Taylor on Dec. 16.

Attempts also have been made in Ohio, Wisconsin, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

In the recent incidents, the suspects have concealed their identities with hoods, JSA reported, but added that nine suspects have been arrested who carried out four of the robberies.

The JSA said in addition to the violence, effect on staff and loss of inventory, robberies at this time of year often force stores to close for repairs during their busiest time.

The organization said in its email alert that this pattern of robberies is similar to the wave of smash-and-grab robberies throughout the country that led to more than 50 indictments and arrests in 2015.

The JSA makes these recommendations to jewelers.

1. Don’t resist in a smash-and-grab robbery; in addition to sledgehammers and other dangerous tools, suspects might be armed with guns.

2. A good deterrent is to hire armed, off-duty police officers in the store.

3. Have buzzers on the door to control who is entering and exiting.

4. Consider investing in showcases with burglary-resistant, laminated glass and special frames since they can withstand many blows from a hammer and can prevent or reduce large losses.

The JSA said it hasn’t seen robbers take “retaliatory action” when showcases have laminated glass and they aren’t able to smash it or can only create a small hole for removing merchandise.

Robbers also frequently cut themselves on the small holes, leaving behind valuable DNA evidence.

5. Have an audible glass breakage alarm on showcases to scare robbers away.

6. The robbers have been targeting loose diamonds and high-end watches, JSA said; spread this merchandise among several showcases rather than concentrating them in one to reduce loss.

7. Have security cameras at eye level inside and outside the store. Surveillance photos from this level can provide great evidence for police, as opposed to “useless” photos of the top of heads or hats that come from ceiling cameras.

8. Keep a log book of suspicious incidents, and save and put aside surveillance videos of suspicious incidents, or save them in the cloud, to help if needed in investigations.

9. Share information and photos with others, such as local jewelers, police and JSA, about casings and suspects to help prevent crime and assist with investigations.


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