Pawn shops targeted in smash-and-grab jewelry thefts

February 27, 2012 3:57:01 PM PST
Smash-and-grab robbers are not just targeting jewelry stores. They're also hitting local pawn shops. While investigators do not think the strings of crimes are connected, they do want to catch the thieves before they hit another store.

The smash-and-grab robbers don't say anything to customers. They just smash display cases with hammers and leave with thousands of dollars in stolen jewelry. Now law enforcement wants to find the robbers before someone gets hurt or killed.

On February 3, five men were caught on surveillance video smashing the glass display cases at a pawn shop in the 7100 block of Bellfort. They grabbed the jewelry and took off.

It happened again February 19 at another pawn shop in northwest Harris County. Two men this time took off with stolen jewelry.

Another crime took place February 20 in the 13700 block of Almeda, and it happened yet again February 21 when four men smashed the display cases at a pawn shop in the 8700 block of Lugary.

On February 22, three men were caught on surveillance video committing a smash-and- grab robbery at another pawn shop in the 13800 block of South Post Oak.

On Monday, Crime Stoppers, the Harris County Sheriff's Office and Houston police came together to announce an increased reward for information leading to an arrest.

"Pictures, names, details, who got cut at which particular location -- it's going to make it all that much easier to prosecute them to the fullest extent that we can," said Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.

Investigators say they have blood and fingerprints gathered at two crime scenes.

They also think the smash-and-grab robberies are gang related.

"It could be the way they're making their money, and it may also be a way of recruiting new people," explained HPD Sgt. John Bedingfield.

Investigators say so far, the robbers have made off with up to $200,000 in jewelry. If you have any information, they're asking you to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. You can remain anonymous.