September 29, 2005
It takes less than two minutes for a jewelry heist like the one at Windsor Jewelers. Yesterday, three men stole nearly a million dollars in jewelry as the vendor was preparing to take the merchandise into the store.
And while investigators are busy looking at survelliance tape, most people in the business feel the robbers are long gone.
Stephen Cranford from The Jewelers Bench deals with jewelry salesmen all the time. It's a part of his business. "Now they come into the store first and we talk, and then they go get their line - they don't just walk out with their line," Cranford explains.
And when dealers come, most never even notice. They dress casually and don't draw a lot of attention. But someone knew that two Asian jewelry dealers were coming to Windsor Jewelers on Wednesday morning. Cranford always hears about heists like these happening all over the country.
"They'll either scout a large store waiting for a sales person or they'll follow a salesperson from one stop to another," Cranford said.
He's talking about a South American jewelry ring - gangs traveling the country pulling off heists like this one and making a clean get away. Richmond County Investigator Blaisse Dresser is looking for any clues.
"As they prepared to take jewelry into the store, one person was left in the vehicle while the other person went into the store to arrange for all the jewelry to be brought in," Dresser said.
"It's generally been rings of Colombian theives and they've gotten very good at it," Cranford said.
It took less than two minutes to approach this SUV, break the front and back windows, and grab the large duffel bag, holding nearly a million dollars in jewelry.
"The only voice that was heard sounded like an hispanic type voice which was previously heard in similar previous robber jewelry vendors," Dresser said.
"They are very in your face and normally there's two cars," Cranford said.
And Cranford says because of their quickness and no ties to the area, the theives are hard to find.
"They very rarely catch them. They hit the highway and they're gone," Cranford said.
Jewelers say the heist have gotten so bad in the Atlanta area that the FBI has formed a task force and because of that, many jewelers believe the gang is moving into other areas.