New York–The Jewelers Security Alliance said the pattern of smash-and-grab robberies recently noted in the Midwest has spread to the Left Coast.
In its most recent crime alert, issued Friday, the JSA noted a total of four smash-and-grabs at jewelry stores in Oregon and Washington between August and now, including two in the past two weeks.
The robberies are being perpetrated by a group of young men who, the JSA said, conceal their identity using hoods and masks.
Jewelry stores in Tukwila, Washington and Tigard, Oregon were victimized in August. In the Tigard case, three suspects were detained immediately after the robbery following a police chase in nearby Beaverton, local news outlets reported.
On Nov. 25, the suspects smashed showcases and took merchandise from a store in Bellevue, Washington, and they hit again in Lynwood, Washington three days later.
JSA issued an alert about the Midwest smash-and-grab robberies the week before Thanksgiving.
Since then, it has added two more stores to the list: a jeweler in Toledo, Ohio that was hit on Nov. 9 and one in Schaumburg, Illinois on Nov. 29.
JSA President John J. Kennedy said Wednesday that it is his “best guess” that it is two separate, unrelated gangs victimizing jewelers in their respective areas.
It is similar to what happened back in 2014, when two large but unrelated gangs were committing smash-and-grab robberies in geographically distant locations, Detroit and Oakland, California.
The JSA has a list of recommendations for jewelers to help prevent or mitigate losses from grab-and-runs, chief among them spreading out high-dollar merchandise among several showcases and having showcases with burglary-resistant, laminated glass and special frames that can withstand multiple blows from a hammer.