Suspected jewelry thieves wanted on Long Island, captured in NJ thanks to jeweler's keen eye

Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Suspected jewelry thieves wanted on LI, captured in NJ
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AJ Ross has the story.

DENVILLE, New Jersey (WABC) -- Suspected jewelry thieves wanted on Long Island were caught before they could strike again in New Jersey.

The first crime was one week ago in Massapequa.

In Denville, New Jersey, there is a quiet street filled with mom and pop shops that probably looked like an easy target to this group of thieves.

Tony Markar says the trio walked into his jewelry store Saturday in Denville, Tony's Jewelers, with a plan, carefully eyeing each display case filled with rings, watches, and bracelets.

"It just happened that day it was very busy. We have about seven to eight people in the store and plus I have my son, my wife and me, they couldn't do too much I guess," Markar said.

One suspect seen in some exclusive surveillance video was even carrying an empty bag. Markar recalls talking at length with the only female in the group about a piece that caught her eye.

"A ring looks like a diamond, it's a big stone like this, she goes, 'Oh I'd love to have this one.' I said, 'You can't wear it on your finger, you got to wear it on your wrist,'" Markar said.

Still behind the smiles and laughs something was setting off his intuition.

Then Markar recalled having seen the trio's faces before through a crime alert website he subscribes to.

"We saw the pictures, and we look at the people, we said this is the ones," Markar said. "So I went back in the room and I called the police."

According to the website the same three were wanted for another recent robbery some 70 miles away in Massapequa where they allegedly stole $27,000 worth of jewelry from a store in Westfield Sunrise Mall.

Denville police snatched the group up shortly after they left Markar's store.

They've since been identified as 54-year-old Bernard Bell, 52-year-old Josuf Pryce and 53-year-old India Stokes.

They're now facing conspiracy to commit theft and conspiracy to commit burglary charges among others.

"I'm happy, too many people have been robbed," Markar said. "Your business, your money on the floor and everybody to grab and this is not right. You work lifetime for your things and you have a family to raise, and when they clean you out, they put you down."

All three suspects are now at the Morris County Correctional Facility.