Professional gang targeting jewellery stores
By Aaron Weinman
A high-tech, professional gang is targeting Australian jewellers following what is suspected to be the seventh robbery by the outfit.
It’s believed the Shiels Jewellers Mirrabooka location was the seventh target in a string of highly organised robberies conducted with careful reconnaissance and detailed preparation.
According to Shiels’ owner, Albert Bensimon, the thieves gained access to the store’s safe and were able to bypass company alarm systems – creating a sufficient window of time to loot the store.
Mobile phone GPS
It’s believed the thieves visit jewellery stores and stand near the back office area and then record the specific GPS location on their mobile phone. The thieves then gain access to the roof of the building and use the exact GPS location to enter the ceiling area directly above the store’s back room area.
One theory suggests the high tech thieves enter the ceiling during the day when the store’s alarm is deactivated then tape over the alarm’s roof sensors which means they can return at night undetetected.
It’s believed the gang also drills a hole in the store’s ceiling and uses a camera to record staff movements and activities including closing the store.
“The thieves cut a hole in our ceiling to record our staff as they entered the code for the safe,” Bensimon said. “They then used the manhole to cover our alarm sensor during work hours when our system was disarmed.”
Thieves placed cameras through the ceiling
Images provided by Bensimon illustrate white duct tape placed over the alarm’s sensor allowing the thieves easy access to the shop’s storeroom.
“The sensor was disabled so this enabled the thieves to enter the back room without triggering our alarm and with the safe code in-hand,” Bensimon added. “We’re in the process of upgrading our security to tamper-proof and vibration sensors and I can only suggest that we get the word out to other WA jewellers to do the same.”
Up to seven similar robberies
It’s believed this robbery is part of a string of similarly orchestrated thefts in WA. Bensimon told Jeweller
that he spoke with other WA-based jewellers who confirmed similar break-ins.
“It’s become clear that quite a few stores have already been targeted in the same manner by the same thieves,” Bensimon said. “It was only through direct contact with other retailers like Prouds, Zamels and Verity Showcase Jewellers that we were able to deliver this pattern to WA Police.”
WA Police have elevated their investigations into the robberies, confirming to Jeweller that at least three recent robberies could be linked though the pattern seems to suggest seven robberies.
To carry out the plan, thieves taped the cameras
Bensimon urged retailers to revise their security systems and bemoaned jewellers not alerting others to crimes. He feels Australian jewellers need to improve communications in order to reduce the likelihood of such crimes re-occurring.
“Stores should look at the ceilings above their safes and if they see any holes that appear suspect please contact the police,” Bensimon suggested. “I believe that a police taskforce is on to these thieves and this could prove valuable evidence for them particularly if one of them is actively in use.”
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