Investigators teaming up to solve jewelry store crimes: Five cases are being compared for similarities
Local law enforcement agencies are taking a closer look at a string of recent burglaries and robberies throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin due to similarities found among the five cases.
Each incident occurred at a jewelry store, to start.
Sheriff’s investigators from Placer, Washoe and Douglas counties are pooling evidence and comparing the incidents at jewelry stores in Round Hill, Kingsbury Grade, Incline Village and Tahoe City. All of the robberies and attempts occurred within a span of two weeks.
“Do you think that you could have five different crimes that (all) relate to jewelry that aren’t related?” said Detective Dennis Slater of Douglas County Sheriff’s in a phone interview. “It’s all speculation at this time.”
Officials from all three sheriff’s departments said jewelry thefts are relatively rare in the Tahoe Basin, raising suspicions about a link between the five cases.
“We have to look to see if it is connected,” said Placer Detective Sgt. Corie Quillinan. “I mean, you have to check. Certainly they could be and you have to look at all your evidence to see if it really is.”
All investigations are ongoing and the agencies, though in different jurisdictions, are working collaboratively in the hopes that evidence from one case might crack another, officials said. “Each agency is looking at their own case as a priority, but being aware of the other cases,” said Sgt. Bill Devine of Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.
Placer County’s crime analysis unit in Auburn is reviewing the five cases for all the agencies involved, Quillinan said.
“It’s pure speculation right at the moment, but the (method of operation) was similar,” Slater said.
In Douglas County, Oliver’s Jewelry in Round Hill was burglarized on Aug. 14 and again on Aug. 17, and a gunman robbed J.P. Chadom Jewelers on Kingsbury Grade on Aug 28.
An attempted robbery at Steve Schmier’s Jewelry in Tahoe City and burglary attempts at Incline Jewelry Outlet in Incline Village both failed.
Burglars came into Oliver’s Jewelry and Incline Jewelry Outlet during early morning hours through busted windows. No victims were involved.
Oliver’s Jewelry has a surveillance system, Slater said. But the camera did not have any film running during both incidents.
Steve Schmier’s Jewelry and J.P. Chadom Jewelers both involved an armed suspect with a small, automatic pistol, who threatened victims in the stores. Both stores captured images of the suspects through surveillance cameras.
The armed suspect at J.P. Chadom Jewelers was a white male in his mid-20s with brown hair and brown eyes, Slater said.
Cameras at Steve Schmier’s showed an armed male suspect in his mid-30s approximately 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches in height. The suspect did not speak with any accent, Quillinan said.
The gunman at J.P. Chadom and Steve Schmier’s wore a face mask.
Five jewelry store cases, two weeks, one perpetrator?
— Tuesday, Aug. 14, 4:30 a.m. at Oliver’s Jewelry in Round Hill. Suspect smashed window for entry and stole items from the store. No surveillance.
— Friday, Aug. 17, 4:30 a.m. at Oliver’s Jewelry in Round Hill. Suspect smashed window — previously smashed window from first attempted was boarded up with plywood — for entry and stole items from the store. No surveillance.
— Tuesday, Aug. 21, 5:23 a.m. at Incline Jewelry Outlet in Incline Village. Suspect smashed window for entry and was likely scared off the scene by an alarm, officials said. No property was stolen. Evidence still being reviewed.
— Friday, Aug. 24, 9:09 a.m. at Steve Schmier’s Jewelry in Tahoe City. Armed suspect demanded clerk open door, but clerk ducked behind counter and dialed 911. Suspect escaped scene despite numerous sheriff’s units in the vicinity. Suspect wore a face mask, dark shorts, light shirt with shoulder bag and appeared to be in his mid-30s.
— Tuesday, Aug. 28, 11:30 a.m. at J.P. Chadom Jewelers on Kingsbury Grade. Armed suspect ordered victims to ground and stole jewelry items. Victims notified officials upon suspect’s departure, but trace was lost. Surveillance cameras revealed suspect as a white male in his mid-20s with brown hair and brown eyes. Suspect wore a face mask.