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$1M in Diamonds Stolen from Traveling Dealers in Three Days

Jun 27, 2008 3:07 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT...  Authorities now say robbers attacked two diamond dealers working on calls in Arkansas and Tennessee in the past three days, and reportedly the theives made-off with $1 million in diamonds in what is being described as similar circumstances. 

One dealer from Los Angeles was hit in a shopping center parking lot at a Pine Bluff, Arkansas, mall yesterday, and a dealer from New York was hit in a hotel parking lot on Tuesday evening in Nashville.

Attention sales people: Please view this important video on travel safety tips from the Jewelers Security Alliance.

Police said the Los Angeles dealer drove from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Little Rock and then to an appointment at B&J Jewelers in Pine Bluff.

The dealer noticed a gray SUV pull-up behind him and stop at which time  the men --dressed in hoods, wearing masks, and holding knives-- jumped out of the SUV. The robbers broke the window of the rental car, took the dealer's keys, opened the trunk and stole the diamonds. The men then struggled with the dealer. At this point the thieves removed the dealer's shoes and found more diamonds hidden in his socks. The dealer suffered a knife wound to his back and scratches to his hands and face from the struggle. The dealer told police the robbers were speaking Spanish and that they had made-off with $500,000 in diamonds. 

Witnesses told police the robbers sped-away from the scene with the SUV's license plates obscured by a blue cloth.

In Nashville, police said the New York dealer drove to their city after arriving first in Memphis. This dealer was calling it a day Tuesday, pulled into his hotel parking lot, when two men drove up behind him in a Pontiac Grand Prix.

The robbers smashed the car's windows and stole the dealer's briefcase containing $500,000 in diamonds. Police contended the robbers had been following the dealer for awhile.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations has determined that South American gangs from Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru are known to stake-out traveling dealers as they make tempting targets.

Steve Frazier, of the FBI's Little Rock office, told the Associated Press that agents would investigate to see if the robberies are linked to the gangs that recently attacked a number of dealers in Houston. "It's too early to probably tell that right now," Frazier said.

Additional reporting by Dialog NewsEdge.

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