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Crime Warning


I just learned that some friends of mine became victims of the
"Columbian Gang" while doing a show in Southern California. It seems
that they were tailed from their outdoor show for approximately one
hundred miles. When they stopped at a grocery store one of them went
inside while the other stayed with the car. The one staying in the
car got out to stretch his legs and was confronted by a loud
commotion at a nearby pay phone. The other party returned to the car
and they drove off without realizing that their hundred thousand
dollar inventory had been left behind. It seems that the commotion
was staged and provided accomplices with the opportunity to seize the
goods contained in the bag which they had carefully observed at the
show. Moral of the story: many of us are living in a fools’ paradise
! The police suggest that a transfer service be employed for high
ticket goods…Ron Mills

Thanks for sharing another sad crime story with us Ron, Unfortunately
this kind of thing happens daily to jewelry salesmen on the road.
There are trained groups of Columbians ( I am not picking on
Columbians , statistics show most are trained in Columbia to come here
for this purpose). I myself lost $250,000 of jewelry to a Columbian
gang that followed me for an hour and a half in California until I let
down my guard. Things have improved a little in the last year, however
it is still extreamly dnagerous traveling with your jewelry to and
from shows, stores, airports and anywhere you can be seen and
followed. Always keep an eye out for people watching or following you.
Travel with a cell phone. Do not tell strangers where you are going or
staying.(including store owners and staff) Keep you jewelry in the
trunk. Most importantly, never leave the jewelry unattended, your
insurance will not cover the loss if you are not in direct contact
with your jewels. When possible use a service like Brinks to transport
your jewelry to and from shows. Do not tell people where you live. Do
not take your jewelry home with you. Remember to let them have the
jewelry if it comes to your safety. The gangs do have guns and should
be concidered very dangerous. Thanks, Etienne Perret Designing Colored
Diamond Jewels @etienne_perret 20 Main St
Camden, Maine USA 04843
tel.+207.236.9696 fax.+207.236.9698

There is a very popular, high volume gold jewelry guy who does shows
around the midwest in the summer. He travels with bodyguards, guns and

I would have thought this overkill except I know a woman who has lost
everything. She too was followed from a show, a nail conveniently
ended up in her tire after a stop to eat and she had a flat alone on
the highway. The police actually caught up with the guys who robbed
her. No evidence left however…they were melting the gold down in the
back of their van!

Karen who switched from jewelry to wall pieces…

yes I experienced the sting of being ripped off also … last year i
was forced to take greyhound as my vehicle had mechanical problems
and there wasn’t even an airport or train station… when I arrived
in Chicago i was told that my 1&1/2 HR wait would be 7 hours…
instead of carrying my luggage i decided to check it in for
security… like they have that!!! anyway after paying money to
have my baggage protected i left the station… upon my return i
found one of my bags missing… of coarse it was the new that had my
jewelry in it… I was bringing $15,000 worth to display in a
museum… I feel it was an inside job and greyhound would only
reimburse me $250… I will never use greyhound again and i will
never make the mistake of not having my stuff insured…Ringman

The Colombian gangs are also working in Singapore. Once I was their
victim, luckily my wife and I were alert to stop them from picking our
bag. All this happen in a very short time. First they puncture our
car tyre at the traffic light junction. Then when our car tyre went
flat, we stop and change my car tyre. Then they strike by trying to
break into our car window when we were changing our car tyre on the
opposite side.

Singapore is a small place. Thanks to our police officers and
immigration department at the airport who are keeping good record of
Colombian or any gang coming or going.

Keep alert.
Tay Thye Sun

All, I think it is time for us to “get real” about this jewelry / gem
rip off thing vis-a-vis show participation. The first thing to
realize is that this sort of thing has been going on throughout
history…it kind of smacks of the typical Hollywood Western
stagecoach hold-up. The only difference is that now society is more
urbanized and therefore there is greater anonymity for the criminal.
There is also greater access to targets inasmuch as there are
international publications devoted to publicizing the presence of
likely “marks” ( Lapidary Journal Calendar, craft show publications,
etc.) Let’s face it ! Doing remote shows is a crap shoot and is
directly parrallel to attending a casino. The odds may not be as bad,
but you are certainly exposed to high risk and you are further
disadvantaged because your assets are so visible and cumbersome.
Moral of the story: Lower the value of your inventory ! You can make
good money with silver and semi-precious stones. Sell art instead of
precious commodities which can be readily liquidated for cash. It
should be obvious that in many cases you are simply taking the
contents of a Mall type jewelry store out into a public park,
spreading it out in the open while foregoing things like alarms and
safes and bodyguards. What it ultimately boils down to is…is it
worth the risk? How much do I stand to gain ? Is it worth risking my
life ? How much can I afford to lose ?
Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos CA