Jewelry crime has been on the rise over the last few years, with smash-and-grabs at an all-time high. In the latest episode of the Rapaport Diamond Podcast, former jewel thief Bryan Sobolewski discussed what makes a store an attractive mark and how retailers can protect their shops against people like him.
“Don’t be predictable,” advised Sobolewski, who runs the Family Jewels podcast. “Do whatever you can to be unpredictable, and do whatever you can to know the second you are being cased. I can come in, I start looking at some stuff, I like it, I say I’ll be back. I come back, I look at some other stuff, I ask you a couple questions, we start being friends. I start giving you a load about my girlfriend, and I say I want to buy a whole bunch of stuff, but I leave and don’t buy anything. I come back again, or you see me again in that area at all, you are being cased.”
Retailers need to notice more of what’s going on around them and get those types of people on film, he told Rapaport Senior News Reporter Leah Meirovich. He also urged store owners to avoid routines like driving to work the same way every day.
“It’s a matter of how much inside information we can get on a store,” Sobolewski explained. “Knowing where the silent alarms are, what the camera system’s like, what kind of response time the local police have — that’s what casing is about. It’s an art form, doing your best to blend into a backdrop so you can witness patterns. The most dangerous thing, in my opinion, is for any jewelry store owner to get into a regular habit of doing regular, daily things. That’s exactly what we watched for.”
He also spoke about his own experience of getting pulled into a family jewelry-robbing gang that led a 22-store crime spree — how he finally got caught, the stigma he faces daily due to his past, the sad ending for his dad and brother, and how he’s now trying to help retailers keep their stores and themselves safe.
Listen to the podcast here:
Rapaport: Information that Means Business
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