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January 15, 2010



Speaking of jewels . . . Mid-Peninsula residents who attend the Cartier Exhibit at the Palace of Legion of Honor should make sure they don't miss the pieces in the exhibit that were owned by Lady Granard (the former Beatrice Mills, granddaughter of D.O. Mills). One diarist, "Chips" Cannon, wrote of Lady Granard in 1937 that "she could scarcely walk for jewels." She was a regular client of Cartier and "was particularly fond of enormous tiaras, ordering three between 1922 and 1937." One of her pieces on display is an over-sized diamond and platinum necklace featuring a 143 carat emerald. (And, no, I didn't forget to put any decimal points in that!)


Well done BPD and LAPD:

BURLINGAME — Police have arrested six Southern California men that they say robbed a New York-based jewelry dealer at gunpoint and may have connections to South American jewelry theft gangs, an official said.

Members of a theft task force that includes Los Angeles Police Department officers pulled over two cars carrying the men in Los Angeles hours after the Jan. 13 robbery, Burlingame police Capt. Mike Matteucci said. He declined to say what led police to the suspects, but he added that they already had been investigating Jesus Hernandez Ortiz, 27; Jose Miguel Figueroa, 32; Juan Felix Sanchez, 23; Juan Martinez, 39; Jonathan Castro, 32 and Nicolas Granados Mojica, 31.

The men all say they are from Southern California, but Matteucci said they have ties to Colombia and possibly South American jewelry theft gangs.

He added that officers got back all of the jewelry stolen from the 31-year-old dealer in the parking of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. During that robbery, two of the suspects appeared behind the victim. One pointed a gun at him, and then the suspects got away with a case containing "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in merchandise, police said.

This was the third robbery of its kind in the county since August. Matteucci said they have not found a connection with those crimes, which happened in South San Francisco in August and November. Jewelry dealers targeted in those heists lost a combined total of about $635,000 in cash, precious stones and finished jewelry, police said.

The suspects are being held in Los Angeles County jail and will be sent back to San Mateo County to face robbery charges, Matteucci said. He said he does not know when they would be extradited.

Rick the Wedding Band Guy

Not a lot of people realize how dangerous the jewelry industry is.


A year after the event, today's SF Examiner is reporting:

Five members of an internationally known crime syndicate were slapped with two-to-three-year prison terms Monday for the gunpoint robbery of a New York jewelry wholesaler in Burlingame last year.

Jonathan Castro, 33, and Nicolas Granados Mojica, 32, were sentenced to three years in state prison, while three others — Jose Miguel Figueora, 33, Jesus Ortiz-Hernandez, 28, and Juan Felix Sanchez, 24 — received two years after pleading no contest to charges involving the Jan. 13, 2010 heist.

The case of a sixth suspect, Juan Martinez, who is accused of brandishing the gun during the robbery, has yet to be resolved.

The jewelry wholesaler was leaving the Crown Plaza Hotel with a duffel bag bulging with 300 trinkets worth $200,000 when he was allegedly accosted at gunpoint by two people working for a South American mob, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.

The robbers allegedly waited for the New Yorker to stash the duffel bag in his trunk before approaching, guns in hand, from behind, according to officials.

The jeweler called Burlingame police right after the robbery, which was perfect timing, cops said, as two hours later they were called by a Los Angeles detective that was hunting the syndicate with an FBI task force.

Later that day, prosecutors said, authorities managed to track down two suspect cars in Los Angeles, one of which contained the New Yorker’s jewelry.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/blogs/law-and-disorder/2011/01/five-members-crime-syndicate-sentenced-robbery-jewelry-wholesaler#ixzz1C51sMW8Z

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