FOX 2 (WJBK) - A ring of alleged jewelry thieves were arrested last week in connection to six robberies in Michigan and Ohio – including the smash-and-grab at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets on Jan. 13.
A total of $170,000 worth of jewelry was recovered after the arrest of six suspects from Detroit on Wednesday, Jan. 24, according to a news release from Troy police.
At Great Lakes mall, three of the suspects, in hoodies and surgical masks, stole about $11,000 worth of jewelry from Helzberg Diamonds – smashing the cases with sledgehammers and ensuing panic among shoppers.
After the Jan. 13 robbery, "a suspect vehicle was identified that registered to a rental company," according to police. "Subsequently, the renter was also identified. A short time later, that vehicle was returned to a Lansing rental location and a new vehicle was rented."
On Jan. 22, Troy police were notified of another smash-and-grab robbery at Kay Jewelers in Lansing Mall. The Eaton County Sheriff's Office discovered that the getaway vehicle was the same one that was newly rented from the Lansing rental location.
"Further investigation concluded this same group was responsible for a total of six robberies in Michigan and Ohio," according to police.
The suspects' rental car was located and surveilled with the help of several police agencies on Jan. 24. Police followed the suspects to Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights and saw the rental car – along with a vehicle stolen from Harper Woods on Jan. 16 – circulating the mall's lot.
"At approximately 2 p.m., four black males got out of the vehicle and went inside Lakeside Mall, leaving two individuals outside. All four were wearing hoods and surgical masks," according to Troy police. "After a few minutes of scouting, the four entered the Sparkles Jewelry store… and immediately began smashing out cases. After grabbing what they could carry, they all fled on foot in various directions, but were quickly apprehended by officers on scene."
All six suspects were taken to Macomb County Jail; each of them faces robbery charges.
"Some of them do have some criminal history with some other robberies, larcenies, things of that nature," said Sgt. Ben Hancock with Troy police. "Between Eaton County, Troy, Sterling Heights and Shelby Township, we were able to get them off the street."