Collingwood jewelry booth robbed, again

January 26, 2012 2:33:59 PM PST
Tens of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry was stolen in New Jersey right from under the owner's nose.

The heist was caught on camera.

What makes this even worse, it's not the first time the owner was robbed.

"I never imagined that it would happen to me again. I thought this was it," said Eugenia Shapiro, of Lila's Jewelry Booth.

It was déjà vous for Eugenia Shapiro when a man stole $30,000 worth of jewelry from her store in Howell, New Jersey.

It happened while she was obliviously standing only a few feet away.

"I didn't even know it's possible to be so bold and do that," Shapiro said.

Bold, and on surveillance tape, an unmasked man climbed under a case at Lila's Jewelry Booth in the Collingwood Flea Market.

He reached into an open safe and pulled out a tray of engagement rings.

After he loitered and pretended to shop for a few minutes, he did it again, and stole a tray of men's and women's rings.

"They just realized no one was paying attention," said Lt. Tom Connors, Howell Police Department.

While police call it a crime of opportunity, Shapiro calls it a set up.

She claims an accomplice, posing as a customer, watched her open that safe and immediately asked her to come to the other side of the store to show him some rings.

"I was about to close. It didn't even dawn on me. I didn't even think it was possible," Shapiro said.

She didn't think it was possible, even though it happened there once before.

In August, police say thieves used a similar distraction tactic to steal a tray of bangle bracelets with an estimated value, again, of $30,000.

Shapiro blames her trusting nature for letting this happen again.

She thought the new surveillance cameras she installed would be enough to deter thieves from coming back.

It was quite an expensive lesson learned.

"I will always have somebody with me and pray it will never happen again," Shapiro said.

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