Jewel Thieves Spray Workers with Bear Repellant and Steal $800,000 Worth of Gems, Say Cops

Same people could be responsible for 16 more burglaries.

It's not Ocean's Eleven (or even Twelve), but a group of armed robbers pulled off a huge jewelry heist in New York City last week. After subduing a jewelry store's employees with bear repellent, they made off with more than $800,000 in goods, police said. But that wasn't the only jewelry heist to happen in New York in the last few weeks—or even the biggest—and authorities are investigating whether the same group of people are responsible. 

How the Heist Went Down

NBC New York

At about 7:15 pm last Wednesday, ten people wearing masks used hammers to smash display cases at Revel Jewelers in the Bronx, the New York Post reported. Police said that while one of the suspects flashed a gun, another "discharged multiple cans of bear spray" at six employees inside the store. The bandits managed to grab "a large quantity of jewelry" and other items worth more than $800,000 overall. 

Employees Taken to Hospital, But No Serious Injuries 

NBC New York

The group fled south on Elm Place in a blue sedan, police said. All of the jewelry store's employers were taken to local hospitals for exposure to bear spray. No arrests have been made, and the investigation is ongoing. 

Similar to Other Recent Smash-And-Grabs in NYC

police tape car accident
JaysonPhotography / iStock

According to the New York Daily News, his smash-and-grab style of jewelry theft is just one of several similar crimes in NYC during the last few months.

On Aug. 5, robbers lifted almost $2 million in merchandise from Rocco's Jewelry in the Bronx. Around 2:30 pm, a man buzzed to be let into the store, then held the door open for several robbers to enter. Police say they used hammers to smash glass display cases, scooping jewels into bags. The total length of the robbery: 45 seconds. 

Other Major Heists Happened in May


The Daily News reports that on May 1, a man broke the plate glass window of M&NP Jewelers with a sledgehammer. He grabbed jewelry and passed it off to an accomplice holding a bag. The next day, a half dozen robbers hit Dorian's Jewelry in Brooklyn, using a sledgehammer and a pickaxe to smash the front window. They scored more than $187,000 in gold jewelry.

Same People Responsible for 16 More Burglaries?

police officer receiving report on phone / Shutterstock

Police believe the group of thieves is behind 16 more burglaries in the Bronx and Queens since February 25, the Post reported. The NYPD did not comment.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more
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