FAIRFIELD (CBS13) – Three teenagers are in custody accused of a brazen smash-and-grab robbery inside a Fairfield mall.
Fairfield police say they took $50,000 worth of stolen jewelry. The getaway car was spotted in Antioch and the jewelry was recovered.READ MORE: Stagg High Stabbing Suspect Anthony Gray Ordered To Undergo Mental Evaluation
A group of between four and nine masked crooks was seen using hammers and baseball bats to shatter the glass inside mall jewelry stores just days apart and got away with expensive goods in mere minutes.
“You can have conceivably had hundreds of thousands or even a million, if you have the right store, the right day, the right time,” said John Kennedy, president of the Jewelers Security Alliance.
He’s seen a spike in these crimes hitting his industry over the past few months, specifically in California.
The crimes are more brazen and they couldn’t come at a worse time for jewelers, according to Kennedy.
“Forty percent of all their business is done during the holiday season,” he said.
This type of crime can put a jewelry store out of business for days or even weeks.READ MORE: Boosted Californians Getting COVID At Twice The Rate Of Those Vaccinated But Not Boosted
Kennedy says there’s really nothing, outside of surveillance cameras, these jewelers or even mall security can do to deter the criminals.
“Our main advice to jewelers is don’t resist and don’t try to stop these people because you’ll get hurt,” he said.
Kennedy says there have been large robbery gangs that can hit 20 or 30 stores over the course of months, sometimes driving across the country. And right now, California is the latest target.
“What can be more threatening to the people working there than nine people coming in with sledgehammers and start smashing things up?” Kennedy said.
Experts say the stolen items are turning up on Ebay, Facebook marketplace and Offer-Up.
Jewelers can buy burglary-resistant laminate glass cases that won’t break with a hammer, which may deter robbers from making off with their goods.MORE NEWS: Applications Now Open For $10K Grants For Sacramento Artists
Fairfield Police Department’s Investigation Division responded and took over the case. Through outstanding investigative work, the suspect vehicle was located in Antioch. Dominick Desouza, 19, from Antioch, was arrested and booked into the Solano County Jail on robbery charges. A 16-year-old male and a 17-year-old male were also booked into Solano County Juvenile Hall.