Jewelry stores on alert for smash-and-grab burglaries

February 16, 2012 4:05:14 PM PST
We have the latest developments on a rash of bold smash-and-grab burglaries at area jewelry stores. Just before Christmas, there was a heist at a store in the Galleria, and then on Wednesday, we brought you breaking news of a similar robbery at Memorial City Mall.

Eyewitness News has learned of more smash-and-grab cases at area jewelry stores and business owners are on alert.

The most recent smash-and-grab robbery at Ben Bridge's in Memorial City mall Wednesday has police scratching their heads. And it has other local jewelers worried.

"Well, any time you have these types of things going on in your industry, it's going to be concerning," said Bradley Marks of IW Marks Jewelry on the Southwest Freeway.

Marks has been following what appears to be similar smash-and-grab burglaries happening at jewelry stores across the city. In the last two months, we've shown you at least four smash-and-grabs at stores like Zales, Ben Bridge's and Hermes.

"They are going to target things that they can dump quick," said Marks.

Police say the crooks who hit Memorial City Mall used a sledge hammer to smash a showcase, then ran off with expensive watches. Ben Bridge's cameras in the Galleria also caught robbers using hammers to steal Rolex watches just before Christmas.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, the police chief called it a crime of opportunity and detectives say they aren't sure if the recent string of smash-and-grabs are connected since the suspects cover their faces.

"As far as our store, we always have off-duty police officers in the store at all times and we feel like we are very safe," said Marks.

IW Marks say fortunately it's taken steps to prevent similar crimes from happening in its showroom and to make sure their workers and customers are safe.