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Police concerned about smash-grab jewelry heist pattern

December 03, 2010|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

Fearing that more jewelry stores may fall victim in a similar manner to a brazen Nov. 15 smash-and-grab daytime robbery, police have begun alerting business owners on how to prepare and immediately react.

The alert comes after last month’s robbery of the Glendale Jewelry Mart on Brand Boulevard in which a group of thieves bombarded the store in broad daylight, smashed several glass displays with hammers, stole an undisclosed amount of merchandise and fled in separate vehicles.

Glendale detectives began investigating similar jewelry store robberies in Los Angeles and Orange counties and found that 47 smash-and-grab robberies have occurred since January, Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

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“That does beg the question, ‘When will we get hit again?’” he said.

While looking into the robberies, detectives noticed a similar pattern.

In most cases, two to eight men in their late teens to mid-20s entered the jewelry stores during normal business hours, smashed the cases with hammers or other tools and stole jewelry, police said.

The incidents typically lasted just 30 seconds before the men fled in waiting vehicles that were double parked near the store, police said.

The suspects often wore gloves, some wore masks, others hats and hooded sweatshirts, police said.

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