Full of high-dollar, easily transportable merchandise, jewelry stores seem to act as a magnet to those bent on making their living by taking what belongs to someone else. Often, though, they are met by store owners just as adamant about keeping their merchandise. Check out these stories of citizens protecting themselves against armed assailants in jewelry stores.
David Medawar, the son of the owner of Paul Medawar Fine Jewelry, knew the store was about to be robbed when he spotted four men acting suspiciously outside the store’s front door. He and several other employees hid in a back room. On a closed-circuit surveillance system, they watched the armed robbers break into the jewelry cases. When they saw one robber with a gun approach the door to the room where the employees hid, they shouted a warning, “We have a gun. We will shoot you. Leave!” Their warnings were ignored, however, and one of the four robbers began to enter the back room with his gun. Medawar fired, striking the robber in the torso. All four suspects fled the scene. No employees were injured. “They came in and presented a threat. We eliminated that threat,” said Medawar of the incident. (The Grand Rapids Press, Plainfield Township, Mich., 4/23/14)
Arthur M. Lewis, 89, a decorated World War II veteran, was working at his jewelry business around 3 p.m. when a man with a gun entered the store. Lewis quickly grabbed the .38-caliber handgun he was carrying in his pocket. The would-be robber exchanged gunfire with Lewis before fleeing the scene. He was later found at a local hospital suffering from six gunshot wounds. After being treated, the assailant was arrested and now faces charges of armed robbery, felon in possession of a firearm, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and armed burglary. Lewis’ left arm was grazed by a bullet, but he was otherwise unscathed. (The Palm Beach Post, Palm Beach, Fla., 8/26/14)
Three masked men entered Plaza Jewelers one afternoon, one carrying a gun while the other two wielded hammers. Store owner Alfonso Angela spotted the men through the store window and grabbed the gun he kept hidden behind the counter. The two men with hammers, one carrying a bag, were approaching the glass cases of jewelry when Angela cocked the hammer of his gun. Within seconds, the men were making a hasty exit. Police were called and two male suspects were later taken into custody. (San Jose Mercury News, Fair Oaks, Calif., 1/21/13)
A group of masked and armed men entered Hardy Nix Jewelers in Antioch, Calif., and attempted to rob the store. The store’s owner responded by obtaining a gun and exchanging gunfire with the criminals, striking and killing one, and causing the others to flee.
One customer was wounded during the incident, but her injuries are described as non-life-threatening. (The San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, Calif. 4/12/14, The San Jose Mercury News, San Jose, Calif. 4/11/14)
An armed robber entered the Top Dollar jewelry store in Newark, N.J., threatened to shoot the people inside, and demanded that the owner fill a bag with valuables. The owner complied with the criminal, placing merchandise into a bag, but then drew a gun and shot the robber. Upon being shot, the thief fled the store, but succumbed to his wounds a short time later. No charges have been filed against the store owner. (The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J. 6/17/13)
An armed man wearing a hood entered Bonaci Fine Jewelers in Kent, Wash., and attempted to rob the store. The store’s owner responded to the attack by retrieving a gun and exchanging gunfire with the criminal, causing the robber to flee. In an interview with local media, Kent Police expressed their belief that the criminal was struck twice during the incident. Additionally, Sgt. Jarod Kasner made clear to reporters that “people have the right to protect themselves.” (KOMO, Seattle, Wash. 5/4/13, KIRO, Seattle, Wash. 5/4/13)