The following information was e-mailed to the Southern Jewelry Travelers Association’s Security Alert Network and a group of sales reps representing several different lines. It was sent from Steffany Shelton of Kenneth Edwards Fine Jewelry in Little Rock, Arkansas on September 27.
Hey all -
I just wanted to let everyone know about ANOTHER robbery here in Little Rock. We had a rep from NY here overnight and she was hit 10 minutes after she left our store on Friday (September 26).
She did have a rolling suitcase (first no-no) but took all other precautions. Her bag was locked up in our store overnight Thursday and she left here with it around 1:45 on Friday after Ken checked out our parking lot and escorted her to her car.
She did as she should and drove around for a while to make sure she wasn’t being followed before driving to the McDonald’s a block from our store for a coffee. The car of crooks pulled in the exit and one guy came up to her window, smashed it, punched her in the face, put the car in park, took her keys and got her bag out of the trunk.
The person behind her was in a giant pick up truck and tried to block the car so it couldn’t leave but they just jumped the curbs and sped away (this person happens to be one of our customers and took very good care of our sales rep - even drove her to the airport). They dumped that car a couple of blocks up the street and got in a white Dodge Magnum (it’s like a station wagon with a big engine). The car they were in before was stolen in Houston.
Now this is the creepy part: Ken saw a white Dodge Magnum drive by our Little Rock condo the night before, where this rep followed us in her rental car before we went out to dinner. It pulled in our parking lot, turned around and left. Since we had no jewelry with us he wasn’t too worried, but thought about it more after the robbery. When the detective told us that was the car that they ended up in it kind of freaked us out a little bit.
She had 2 bags in the trunk and they knew exactly which one had the jewelry. They would have to have seen it before the 3 second trip from her car to our door and back, which means we think they were on her since she landed at the airport. We are convinced that someone in airport security where she flew out is involved with this group of thugs and is giving them the info. There may be one in EVERY airport.
We think that the crooks were from Houston that robbed a sales rep 6 weeks ago in our parking lot (we didn’t know he was coming, no appointment, didn’t even know him). He had been to 2 other stores before ours, pulled into our parking lot and got robbed in 30 seconds. The FBI is working on this - for some reason our area is really a target.
Sorry this is so rambling, it’s just very scary the job you all do so please be careful. These bad guys are real professionals, just following your normal or even tighter security measures won’t stop them. Ship the jewelry. Bring retailers to you. Dragging bags of jewelry around is a practice that must become obsolete. So for now we won’t be allowing any sales rep with a bag in the store. It’s just too risky.
Please share this with others in the business.
Kenneth Edwards FineJewelry
Little Rock, AR