Hunt for jewel thieves in NJ leads to NY

July 6, 2011 2:59:00 PM PDT
Police in two states and the FBI are looking for armed robbers who target local jewelry stores. Their only clues are surveillance video and the trucks used by the robbers to pull off the heists.

Investigators believe they are stealing the trucks on Staten Island, and then using them to haul the stolen jewelry from stores in New Jersey.

In video taken inside Ballew Jewelers back in January of 2009, a man comes through the front door at the end of the day, pulls out a gun and orders the two employees to the back of the store.

He demands some very specific merchandise. He's in and out in under 3 minutes, wearing a Camo jacket, a clear mask and keys around his neck.

"We think he's done it before. We think it's possible that he had been in the store before to get the lay of the land," Wall Township Detective Chris Scervo said.

It was that hunch that prompted wall township police to ask other departments if they had and similar robberies under investigation and sure enough Old Bridge police had video from a cold case in 2007.

In that video, a man comes in to a jewelry store at day's end, pulls out a gun, demands specific merchandise and is in and out in under 3 minutes as well. .

In this case, he was wearing a Syracuse hat and a stop watch around his neck, a clear mask on his face and walks with some sort of limp.

"You know hearing him tell it, the similarities jump right out at you," Captain Robert Weiss said.

Weiss knew immediately they had a match.

Last year, the FBI got involved because of another video. Police believe the video shows the same man stealing a rental truck on Staten Island to drive to New Jersey for the robberies. He did this both times.

Both times, a black car with a driver waits for him.

After the robberies, the truck is dumped and the thief takes off with the driver in the black car.

Well prepared, but perhaps making one big mistake.

"Maybe the one thing that they didn't think through so clearly, crossing state lines. That's something that they should have thought about," said FBI Asst. Special Agent Edward Kahrer said.