Friday, February 19, 2010 "Well-planned" jewelry store robbery


Police are still investigating a “well-planned” heist, during which $3 million in jewelry was stolen from the Elite Diamond Center on Route 4.


Paramus police are still looking for the suspects who allegedly broke into a store neighboring the diamond center, knocked down a wall and removed a vault containing high-priced jewelry.

There may be a link between this robbery and another unsolved robbery that occurred on Route 4 in 2008, according to Paramus Police Chief Richard Cary.

“There’s a very good possibility that the two burglaries are linked based upon their similarities,” Cary said.

On Sunday, Feb. 7, between 8 and 11 p.m., unknown suspects cut an exterior cable, disabling power to Lens Crafters, a neighboring store connected to the Elite Diamond Center, according to Cary. The suspects broke into a back door of Lens Crafters and disabled the alarm and telephone equipment inside a storage closet.

Cary said the suspects then entered a conference room in Lens Crafters and broke through sheet rock and a cinderblock wall that led into the diamond center. On the other side of the wall was a 40-inch-tall, 27-inch-wide and 29-inch-deep safe, weighing 2,046 pounds. Cary said the safe was likely moved by the suspects into Lens Crafters using a hand truck. Because the suspects never actually entered the jewelry store, no alarms were set off in that store, according to Cary.

Police said the safe had bracelets, earrings, engagement rings and watches valued at approximately $3 million.

“They had to have a formalized plan and had to have been at those locations before to know the safe was next to the conference room wall,” Cary said. “They did their homework.”

Cary said the fact that the Super Bowl was being played, and was the most watched program in television history, may have factored into the suspects’ plans.

“It would be one of the prime times to do something like this,” Cary said. “I always alert officers to be extra vigilant during holidays.”

Cary said there is no evidence at this time to suspect the burglary was an inside job.

A March 2008 burglary at the Jeweler’s Exchange was extremely similar, according to Cary. The suspects broke into a vacant store next door to the Exchange, broke through a wall, and accessed a safe that contained more than $1 million worth of jewelry.

Paramus police have been reviewing hours of surveillance videos in the vicinity of the store and highway to see if they can find any evidence. They have also been in contact with the New York Police Department and local authorities to share information.

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