Police in Arizona are celebrating a small victory after an ongoing investigation into an armed heist in June yielded the arrest of three suspects. Two men and a woman from the Phoenix area are accused of trying to rob a Jim Anderson Jewelers storefront, located on North Fourth Street in Flagstaff, on June 24. Luckily, the owner kept a weapon in the store and managed to scare off his attackers before they could injure him or purloin any of his wares. The details of the specific charges brought against those arrested haven’t been released yet, but it’s likely both of the men will be charged with attempted robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, with the female suspect charged with aiding in a felony, as she allegedly drove the getaway vehicle.
The story doesn’t end with the three suspects being brought into police custody, however. According to Lt. Scott Mansfield of the Flagstaff Police Department, the law enforcement agency in charge of the investigation, new evidence shows that the three suspects might be part of a much larger jewelry heist and robbery ring that has carried out attacks and thefts in multiple other states. The possible ties to organized crime have resulted in the Federal Bureau of Investigation joining the state to assist with its continuing investigation.
Despite Crashing Prices, Jewelry Remains Incredibly Valuable in Street and Retail Markets
According to recent industry statistics, the values of gold, platinum, and diamonds have all plummeted in the last few weeks. Demand has decreased for the precious materials while supply, particularly for diamonds, has gone through the proverbial roof. Most troubling, for some, is the fact that platinum is currently worth less than the classically less valuable gold. Still, the FBI notes, even with a noticeable decline in value, precious metals and stones still make for lucrative investments, both for criminal enterprises and legitimate business people.
“The value of finished jewelry does not seem to be changing,” says Ruthann Carroll of Smyth Jewelers. “For decades, jewelry has been one of the most wanted items and some of the most valued possessions a person can own.”
Organized crime rings, like that which law enforcement may have stumbled upon in the Arizona arrests, remains such a huge problem that the FBI maintains a special unit to combat these highly organized and highly skilled groups of thieves. If the investigation reveals that a branch of one of these groups has found its way into the Phoenix area, Flagstaff and other law enforcement agencies will have a lot more to worry about than a couple of low-level street thugs.