15 suspects wanted in California jewelry store armed robbery

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Merced, Calif.—California police are looking for 15 suspects who used hammers to smash windows and steal merchandise from a jewelry store in the mall.

According to the Merced Police Department, officers responded to a robbery at Prestigio Jewelers in the Merced Mall at 12:51 p.m. on February 8.

Witnesses reported seeing up to 15 masked men causing a disturbance and later using sledgehammers to smash store windows and displays before taking an unknown amount of jewellery.

The suspects fled before police arrived, leaving in several vehicles.

The police department released the surveillance footage below on social networks to identify possible suspects and the vehicles involved.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact Merced Police Department Detective Valadez at 209-388-7829 or [email protected]

The incident is the latest in what the Jewelers Security Alliance called a “worrying pattern” of armed robberies in California.

The organization said in January that 23 robberies in the state had been reported since last May.

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John Kennedy of the JSA gave the following advice and suggestions to jewelers regarding crash flights.

— Mitigate losses by having storefronts equipped with burglar-resistant glass.

— Do not resist, as suspects may be armed with firearms in addition to maces and other potentially dangerous tools.

— Having audible glass break alarms on display cases can scare away thieves. A buzzer on the door can also help deter thieves from smash-and-grab, and hiring an armed, off-duty policeman as a guard can also be a deterrent.

– When smash-and-grabs increase, it might be a good idea to keep a certain amount of highly targeted goods – heavy gold chains, for example – in the safe instead of putting everything in the display case.

— Keep a logbook and record surveillance video of suspicious incidents, as this can be of great help in subsequent investigations.

— Consider sharing information and photos with other local jewelers, the police and the JSA.

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