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Moving shop security paranoia


#1

This is a story you probably have to be a jeweler to appreciate.

A week ago I closed a store to prepare for a move to a different
location. The plan was to remove all the jewelry to my other store
for safekeeping until the new store was ready to receive it. Since
this move was announced and advertised it seemed like a risky moment
because not only would the jewelry be all packed up in an easy to
handle (or steal) container, this fact was public knowledge.

Being worried about my exposure on this day I had a friend come
along, not to actually help with any of the lifting, but to keep an
eye on the street and watch my back.

About noon I was meeting with a customer about a special order when
a man came in who was loud an obnoxious. Probably more insane than
stupid, but asking all kinds of questions about where we were moving
and when. He said he wanted to buy a ring that was $400, but first he
tried to trade what he called “French art” for it, that was a large
paste up collage made of magazine pictures. He had all kinds of
similar junk in a large black plastic garbage bag. I had to force
myself to keep my eyes on him as he was sorting through his stuff on
top of one of the cases. I was thinking of that scene in the Mel
Brooks movie High Anxiety where they deliberately act loud, obnoxious
and stupid to get through airport security because physiologically
you try to ignore loud and obnoxious people. Anyway, the guy says he
will be back with cash for the ring and wants to know exactly how
late I will be there. All this happened while I had a real customer
who needed attention.

My impression was that the guy was too genuine to be a shill or a
set up, but you never know. I took the whole episode as a yellow
alert.

After everything was packed up I went out to the vehicle to start
loading. I started with several paintings. Damn! The guy was
lumbering up the sidewalk! He starts in with his BS about wanting the
ring but doesn’t have the money yet. I am thinking beginning to think
this is a very clever set up for a robbery. I am firm with him and
tell him we are closed and go back inside and lock the door. I tell
my back up man we need to be especially alert and we wait about 5
minutes. I then look out the window and don’t see him but when I go
back out with another painting he is in the cross walk, crossing the
street heading away from us. Good enough, but Damn! doesn’t a car
come around the corner and hit him! Now I am thinking this is the
most brilliantly staged diversion and I am being targeted by
masterful thieves. The man wasn’t hit especially hard. In fact he
has more like bumped and now he is yelling and making a big scene, as
you would if you were hit in the cross walk with the light in your
favor. My natural inclination would be to go see if he is OK, be a
witness if needed since I saw the whole thing happen. But my paranoia
says, get back inside and lock the door.

As I am watching through the window the guy never even glances my
way and there does not appear to be anyone else around watching us.
So after giving it some time to clear we quickly load up and leave. I
think the guy probably was really just what he appeared to be, a loud
crazy street person who just happened to get hit by a car. It seems
like if this was really a set up he would have acted hurt and fell
down. But the fact that this happened at exactly the best moment to
be the perfect distraction for a snatch and grab of 4 neatly packed
boxes with the entire jewelry store inventory in them makes me
wonder.

Stephen Walker


#2

Hi Stephen,

In all likelihood the guy was just a street person, but I would have
behaved the same way you did. Always better safe than sorry. Good
luck with the new location.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
www.spirerjewelers.com