For Immediate Release
December 1, 2005
FBI National Press Office
CUTTERS JEWELRY TASK FORCE ANNOUNCED
Washington, DC -
The FBI today announced the formation of the GATE CUTTERS JEWELRY TASK FORCE,
comprised of federal, state and local law enforcement in partnership with
the jewelry and gem industry.
Since April 2003, an organized
criminal ring dubbed the "GATE CUTTERS JEWELRY CREW" is believed
to have burglarized more than 50 jewelry stores of more than $5.1 million
in jewelry. These burglaries occurred in at least 10 East Coast states, possibly
12. The organization burglarizes primarily national, mall-based stores and
has victimized 16 different companies.
As of October 2005, this
criminal ring is believed to have operated in Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts,
Maryland, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island
and Virginia. This ring may also have committed additional burglaries in
Florida and Illinois.
"The potential danger
to the public is clear," stated FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker,
Criminal Investigative Division. "While we are concerned about the impact
the dollar loss has on the American consumer, we're even more concerned about
the potential for violence. We're determined to do everything possible to
prevent a shopper, security guard, police officer, or other innocent passerby
from getting hurt. We're especially concerned about this as we go into the
holiday shopping season with larger numbers of people in the stores at later
The Gate Cutters Jewelry
Task Force was formed on October 20, 2005 at a meeting in New York City.
The meeting was attended by the FBI, local law enforcement officers from
many of the affected jurisdictions, and representatives from the jewelry
industry. The task force has developed a unified investigative strategy and
is pooling information and resources to streamline this coordinated multijurisdictional
Aspects of this criminal
ring's modus operandi include:
- Jewelry stores are
generally burglarized when lighting conditions in a mall/store are low,
thus making identification via closed circuit television (CCTV) difficult.
Subjects typically use mall fire exits as entry and exit points.
- Jewelry stores are
usually burglarized before or after normal store business hours when a
mall may be open for evening theater customers or early morning walkers.
- The subjects are known
to cut through roll down security gates to enter the jewelry stores. Once
inside, they pry open display cases and remove products that are not secured
in a safe. In most cases, the subjects do not attempt to enter safes and
are usually in the store for a very short period of time.
- The subjects typically
wear hooded sweatshirts. They are described as possibly African/American
or Hispanic males. Witnesses have noted teams of four to five individuals
committing the crime, with one person acting as a lookout.
- The subjects generally
target men's gold jewelry, such as chains, bracelets and rings as
well as Movado watches.
- Witnesses have observed
the subjects leaving the scene in a van or SUV.
Anyone providing information
leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals responsible for these
thefts will be eligible for up a $25,000 reward offered by the FBI. All tips
will be kept confidential. The task force requests any information regarding
jewelry store burglaries with a similar modus operandi be provided to local
law enforcement, the nearest FBI Field Office or via the tip line at 1-800-CALLFBI
The FBI wishes to thank
the following law enforcement agencies and industry partners for their cooperation
and participation in the GATE CUTTERS JEWELRY TASK FORCE:
Abington Township, PA
P.D., Bensalem Township, PA P.D., Cloud, Feehery & Richter, Finley Jewelers,
IPC International, Jewelers Mutual Association, Jewelers Mutual Insurance
Co., Jewelers' Security Alliance, Mayors Jewelers, Milford CT P.D., Movado
Group, Inc., Montgomery Township, PA, P.D., PA Real Estate Investment Trust,
Reeds Jewelers, Salisbury Township, PA, P.D., Sterling Jewelers, Whitehall
Jewelers, Whitehall Township, PA P.D., and the Zale Corporation.
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