A group of 16 individuals has been indicted for their involvement in a series of armed robberies targeting Asian-owned jewelry stores across Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
The thefts took place between January 2022 and January 2023, with the operations being coordinated from Washington, D.C.
The suspects are accused of stealing over $1 million worth of jewelry from the stores. Some members of the crew are also implicated in carjackings.
The authorities have stated that while the stores targeted were Asian-owned, no hate crime charges are being considered. The suspects reportedly believed that these stores carried a specific type of gold that was easy to resell.
The targeted stores include Yasini Jewelers in East Falls Church, Virginia; Virani Jewelers in Iselin, New Jersey; Sonia Jewelers & Boutique in Springfield, Virginia; Paradise Jewelry Store in Paterson, New Jersey; Baral Jewelers & Gifts in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Sara Emporium Jewelry & Boutique in Springfield, Virginia; Kishek Jewelers in Jacksonville, Florida; Chintamanis Inc. in Franklin Park, New Jersey; and Princess Diamonds in Falls Church, Virginia.
Charges and Legal Proceedings
Federal prosecutors have charged 15 men from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, and one from California with crimes including armed carjackings, armed robberies, money laundering, and firearms offenses.
Seven firearms, including a machine gun, were recovered, and a safe containing $300,000 was found in one home during a search. Eight of the suspects were already in custody on other charges, and the remaining eight were arrested on Wednesday.
For everyone in our industry this incident underscores the importance of staying vigilant, especially when handling goods that are considered easy to resell.