By Michelle Graff
New York—The Jewelers’ Security Alliance has put retailers on notice about a recent uptick in burglars breaking into jewelry stores by lowering themselves in through the roof or sawing through a sidewall.

In an alert first circulated Friday, JSA recounted two rooftop burglaries that happened in late December, both in the Southeast.

The first occurred at a jewelry store in Brentwood, Tennessee, a wealthy Nashville suburb that’s home to a plethora of country music stars.

In the overnight hours of Saturday, Dec. 21 into Sunday, Dec. 22, burglars entered a jewelry store through the roof and took jewelry from the showcases.

The second happened Dec. 30 at a jewelry store on Holcomb Bridge Road in the Atlanta suburb of Roswell, a burglary described by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a “Mission Impossible”-style heist.

According to JSA, the owner of the store—identified in local media as Jason Guven—arrived to see the keypad off and the lights on.

He entered the store, only to find his displays on the floor and the vault ajar.

JSA said burglars cut the alarms and dropped down into the store through the roof, landing right in front of the vault.

20200122 Roswell jewelry store burglaryThey broke into the vault, seemingly by cutting through the wall, and remained in the store for at least eight hours undetected, taking almost every piece of valuable jewelry. (An image of the store post-burglary can be seen above.)

Reached Tuesday by National Jeweler, Guven, whose uncle owns Guven Fine Jewelry in nearby Buford, said perpetrators made off with millions in inventory, including Rolex watches, an 8.2-carat marquise-cut diamond, and 4- to 5-carat cushion-cut and round diamonds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective C. Irving of the Roswell Police Department at 770-640-4350.

So far in 2020, JSA has received reports about an attempted rooftop burglary at a jewelry store in suburban Chicago and another store burglarized by suspects who cut through a wall in an adjacent space to access the safe.

The sidewall burglary took place Jan. 11 in Dinuba, a town in central California.

At 2:03 a.m., the suspects entered a now-abandoned Mexican restaurant through the roof, broke through the wall and cut into the back of the store’s safe, which was up against that wall.

They cleaned it out, including jewelry brought to the store for repair, leaving the store’s owners with only a few watches.

WATCH: Son of Dinuba Store’s Owner on the Impact of the Burglary

The store’s owner’s son told a local news station his family’s store has been open for more than 20 years but won’t be able to continue after the burglary because their insurance does not cover the losses.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Dinuba police at 559-591-5914.

The Chicagoland-area rooftop attempt happened Jan. 12 in the suburb of Lemont.

Two men, identified as 26-year-old Denis Daunoras and 41-year-old Algirdas Glinski, were arrested after police responded to a call of a suspicious noise on the roof of a strip mall.

20200122 Lemont burglary suspects NewLemont, Illinois police arrested 26-year-old Denis Daunoras, left, and 41-year-old Algirdas Glinski, both of Lithuania. Police said the two were caught wearing black masks and having bored a hole in the roof of a clothing store that is jewelry-store adjacent. (Photos courtesy of Jewelers’ Security Alliance)

JSA said the suspects, who were wearing black masks, allegedly cut a hole in the roof of a store adjacent to a jewelry store and had tools on them that could be used to break into a vault.

Rooftop and safe burglaries are not the most frequently occurring types of burglaries, JSA President John J. Kennedy acknowledged.

The most common type is what’s referred to as a three-minute burglary—short and simple heists usually accomplished by smashing through a store’s front door or window and then stealing any jewelry that’s been left out of the safe.

In 2018, three-minute burglaries accounted for more than 60 percent of all jewelry store burglaries, JSA’s annual crime report shows.

Rooftop and safe burglaries require more time, skill and tools. But when they happen, they result in greater dollar losses, and their numbers can spike if gangs with the know-how and equipment are at work, Kennedy said.

There was an uptick in both last year, JSA data shows.

Kennedy said Tuesday there were 22 rooftop attacks in 2019, more than double the nine recorded in 2018.

Safe attacks totaled 25, up from 13 the previous year.

Burglaries in which the perpetrators entered through a sidewall totaled seven last year, roughly on par with 2018.

Kennedy said it is unknown at this time how many gangs are involved in the cases described above or if any are connected.

Regardless, he said jewelers need to make sure their premises are protected at all entry points and recommended installing both motion and sound detectors.

Retailers also need to have line security, and police and jewelers must respond to all alarm signals promptly and examine all entry points, not just the windows and doors.

Other tips from JSA include the following.

1. Do not put safes on outside walls or walls that back up to neighboring offices or stores. Also keep in mind: Empty space adjacent to a jewelry store is an “attractive target” for burglars.

2. Kennedy recommends a TRTL 30x6-rated safe. Safes rated TL-15x6 and TL-30x6 are not adequate protection today, JSA said, as burglars can break into them using inexpensive tools bought at a regular hardware store.

3. Make sure the call list for the alarm company is up-to-date, with enough people listed so somebody is available even if it is a weekend or holiday.

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