Gunman robs Flatts jewellery store
Businesses shocked by robbery
Flatts business owners spoke of their shock after an armed robbery at a village store yesterday.
Link to Link, which specialises in handmade original jewellery, is the third local business to have suffered from violent crime in the past four years.
In November 2008, a trio of armed men burst into the International Lines and Designs barbershop next door to Link to Link and attacked a man working there. That incident also occurred in broad daylight.
There was an armed robbery at the Van Buren gas station in 1999 in which a pistol was brandished. The same gas station was targeted by a robber armed with a blade around 6.55pm on January 3 2012.
The latest incident left local business owners shocked and upset.
Stephen West, who runs West Port Architecture and CW Construction across the street from the jewellery store said: I think its outrageous.
Mr West said the first he heard of the robbery was when he saw the police outside, but business owners will start to keep our eyes open for anything suspicious in the village.
He added that he will be installing CCTV cameras.
Vivion Adderley who runs Flatts Menswear, a short distance up the road, said he felt shocked and really worried.
He called for CCTV to be installed in the village.
Shadow Minister of National Security Jeff Baron attended the scene around an hour after the incident. He said he wanted to show his concern over what happened and his support for the police.
A former police Sergeant himself, Mr Baron said: This happened in broad daylight which shows a certain level of desperation or bravery. Both of those are concerning.
The devastated owner of a Flatts Village jewellery store hit by an armed robbery said he feels like closing up shop and giving up.
The robber burst into Link to Link on North Shore Road yesterday morning on the stores 16th anniversary of opening and took all the gold jewellery.
Owner Shane Robinson planned to take his sales assistant out to celebrate the anniversary but instead the robber turned up and threatened her with a gun.
The assistant, aged around 40, was alone in the shop at the time.
From my understanding of it, he came in and said he didnt want to hurt her or nothing like that; he just wanted all the items. She said that he used a firearm, reported Mr Robinson. He had it behind her and was walking her around the shop.
The robber forced the assistant to open the display cases half the items inside were made of gold and the other half were silver.
He took all the gold including diamond rings, bracelets, earrings and pendants a variety of items, explained Mr Robinson, who described the assistant as very shaken up.
She called the police after the robber exited the store. Its believed he got away on a motorcycle, possibly ridden by an accomplice (see second story).
I dont know what the impact of this is. I just have to gather all my thoughts right now, said Mr Robinson, speaking four hours after the 10.45am robbery.
Right now I just want to close up shop and give up. Today we would have been celebrating 16 years in business. We opened on December 5. I was going to come down to take her out to lunch.
Mr Robinson, a father-of-two who lives in Warwick, was brought up in Flatts. He said news of the robbery will be traumatic for his children, who are aged nine and seven.
He added: I work hard for what I have got. I just feel its low. I know times are rough out there and everything, but you have got to stick with it. Someone can just come in and destroy you in a heartbeat. I have worked three and four jobs to survive and now I just feel like walking away from it all.
He said it is too soon to tell whether his losses will be covered by insurance. Its the third time his shop has been targeted by criminals in recent months. There was a failed break-in on Saturday when someone tried to get in by pulling out the air conditioning unit. In February, he said, people tried to get into the store through the ceiling.
Theyve made a few attempts and I tried to upgrade [security] each time with bars and an alarm system.
Police appealed for help to catch the culprits.
Chief Inspector Tracy Adams said: Around 10.45am, a gentleman went into the Link to Link store in Flatts and had what appeared to be a firearm and demanded jewellery and other property from the lone shopkeeper.
We find this very disturbing and were asking for anyone in the area that may have seen anything to contact us. It looks like the individual got away with a large quantity of jewellery and my experience tells me that in these kinds of offences someone needs some assistance to offload any property that he may have gotten. So we are asking anybody that may have information to please give us a call and help us solve this crime.
We are asking people to be vigilant and be on the lookout for anybody trying to exchange or get rid of any sort of jewellery to give us a call and help us catch the culprit. We believe he may have made good his escape on a motorcycle.
Chief Insp Adams said it was too early to state the value of the jewellery stolen or to give any description of the suspect beyond that he is a black male. He said that fortunately there was no injury to anybody but the shop clerk was visibly shaken up as anybody would be after suffering this kind of experience.
He said police are investigating whether there is any CCTV footage that can assist in the investigation. No arrests had been reported by press time last night.
Anyone with information should call the St Georges Criminal Investigation Unit on 293-2222 or the confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 800-8477.
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