Asheville, NC—It’s been an eventful spring at Spicer Greene Jewelers. In March, the jeweler’s play-on-words billboard drew international attention, both positive and negative. And last week the store was robbed in a smash-and-grab.
On May 3 around 4:15 p.m., three suspects wielding hammers and a gun and wearing full motorcycle helmets entered the store. They displayed the gun but did not shoot it, then quickly smashed a showcase and cleaned out the merchandise before leaving in a most unusual fashion—on two dirt bikes.
According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, all three thugs were dressed entirely in black. One wore a gray hoodie and the other two wore full-faced helmets.
Co-owner Eva-Michelle Spicer told the paper that smash-and-grab robberies are, unfortunately, “part of the world we [jewelers] live in now.”
Indeed, smash-and-grab thefts increased 40% year on year from 2015 to 2016, according to Jewelers’ Security Alliance figures. There were 420 at U.S. jewelry stores in 2016, compared to 301 in 2015.
Another Asheville jeweler, John Laughter Jewelers, experienced a similar robbery last August. The store lost between $300,000 and $500,000 worth of merchandise and most of the pieces stolen were high-end jewels with individual values north of $50,000.
That case is still unsolved and at press time so was the Spicer-Greene case.
“We’re just glad no one was hurt,” Eva-Michelle Spicer said. “That’s all that matters.” Grant Laughter echoed Spicer’s sentiment, saying, “Jewelry is replaceable, people aren’t.”
Both jewelers were insured for their losses.