Guest Expressed: “Clown Jewels: 5 Cases of Incompetent Jewellery Thieves”

In today’s guest post, Stephanie turns the “stupid criminals” series into a trilogy. Enter Stephanie:

In the movies, jewellery thieves are often portrayed as clever, charming and witty – such as David Niven’s suave burglar ‘The Phantom’ whose ambition in life is to steal the fabled ‘Pink Panther’. In real life however, jewellery thieves regularly demonstrate just how inept they are when compared to their film counterparts, as this quintet of true bungled jewellery raid stories proves…

5. It helps to know the difference between ‘priceless’ and ‘worthless’..

A fair amount of planning must have taken place prior to the break in at the Robbins Brothers jewellery store in Fullerton, California on July 28th 2012. A thief entered the store in the early hours of the morning via a window inaccessible to the public and surrounded by high security fences. Once inside, the burglar smashed display cases and grabbed as much of the jewellery on display as possible before making good his escape. Unfortunately, the ‘jewels’ he made off with were all costume jewellery made from glass and paste – any jewellery of value had, of course, been locked safely away in the store’s strong room.

4. Jewellery raid goes to pot

In July 2007 Nic Cerrone, owner of the prestigious Cerrone jewellery store in Sydney, Australia was surprised to be confronted by a trio of men wearing gardener’s overalls and carrying pot plants as he arrived at the shop at 8.30am one morning. Using the pot plants to obscure their faces from CCTV cameras the trio threatened to kill Cerrone unless he opened the shop. Instead, he ran into the street and began screaming. The would-be jewellery thieves panicked and fled, but not before one of them ran into a pole. They then jumped into a getaway car and attempted to drive the wrong way up a one-way street. Commenting on the bungled raid, Cerrone said he found it “amusing”.

3. Jewellery thief pests risk extermination

On May 8th 2012 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida a pest control company erected a large tent over a house infested with termites in order to fumigate the entire building with deadly poisonous gas intended to exterminate the destructive insects. However, the presence of a vast red and yellow tent with numerous “Danger! Do not enter! Poison!” signs posted around it were an insufficient deterrent for two jewellery thieves who entered the toxic-gas filled house. Remarkably, the offenders almost got away with their haul until a police officer spotted them heading toward their local pawnbrokers shop.

2. No smash, no grab for Honolulu Jewellery Store Raiders

Despite being armed with hammers and a shotgun, two opportunistic jewellery thieves reckoned without a Honolulu, Hawaii, store’s defences in April 2011. Footage from the CCTV camera at Zale’s jewellery store shows two masked men entering during a normal trading day and attempting to smash glass jewellery display cases with hammers. Unfortunately, the cases are made of extremely tough reinforced glass and do not break, so one of the bungling burglars takes aim at close range and fires the shotgun. Still nothing. A second blast appears to result in no more damage than the other raider being hit by shrapnel from the shotgun cartridge and at this point the dopey duo give up and escape the scene in a Honda Civic.

1. Thief eats the wrong sort of karats

At 2012’s Sri Lanka Gem Show, two men approached the display owned by Suresh de Silva and asked to look at a cut diamond valued at £9,000. As one man took the diamond, the other attempted to distract Mr. de Silva, but the merchant quickly realised what was happening when the potential diamond thief turned to flee. Giving chase, Mr. de Silva managed to catch the man, but he promptly swallowed the diamond. This turned out to be a mistake as it became lodged in intestine and following the failure of heavy doses of laxative to elicit the diamond, the thief in question now faces abdominal surgery to remove the precious stone.

Saswa is the leading retailer of Carrie Elspeth jewellery

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