Arrests Made in $100K Jewelry Store Heists - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Arrests Made in $100K Jewelry Store Heists



    Bensalem Police say they're using DNA technology to track down the third suspect in a series of jewelry store heists. (Published Wednesday, March 5, 2014)

    A traffic stop nabbed two alleged thieves in a recent string of heists that netted more than $100,000 in jewelry.

    A third suspect in four separate thefts in Philadelphia and Bucks County remained on the loose on Wednesday, considered armed and dangerous.

    Investigators say a red pickup truck used as a getaway vehicle led to one of the arrests. Police spotted the pickup near Aramingo and Castor Avenues in Philadelphia Tuesday night.

    "When (police) went to stop the vehicle, the vehicle fled -- there was a short vehicle pursuit." said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small. "The individuals parked the vehicle in the 2300 block of Cumberland and fled on foot."

    Alleged Jewelry Thieves Caught

    [PHI] Alleged Jewelry Thieves Caught
    Police are still searching for one suspect they believe is a part of multiple jewelry heists in Philadelphia, Bucks County and New Jersey.
    (Published Wednesday, March 5, 2014)

    Officer arrested one suspect, identified as James McGrath, but the other got away. Police said that man should be considered armed and dangerous. They also said that they have an idea who he is and that they hoped to obtain an arrest warrant.

    Earlier Tuesday, police arrested a third suspect, identified as Mark Donato, in Bensalem.

    The alleged crime spree began last month.

    On Feb. 25, around 6 p.m., police say one of the suspects entered the Sears store at Neshaminy Mall in Bensalem, Pa. The man went to the jewelry department and cut the cable which secured a spinning display case full of jewelry to the main display case, according to investigators.

    The suspect then allegedly loaded the entire spinning display case into a shopping cart and left the store. Police say he then entered the passenger side of a red pickup truck outside of the Sears. A second suspect was in the driver’s seat and the two men fled the scene, according to police.

    On Feb. 26, another spinning jewelry display case was stolen from the K-Mart on 176 W. Street Road in Lower Southampton Township. Witnesses told police they spotted a red pickup truck fleeing the scene with the letters “ZC” on the registration.

    Finally, on Feb. 27, the two suspects were spotted entering the Sears at the Oxford Valley Mall in Langhorne, Pa. Once again, police say they stole a spinning jewelry display case before fleeing in a red pickup truck with the letters “ZC” on the registration.

    Police also say the suspects were connected to a jewelry store theft at a Walmart in Philadelphia. They did not reveal the date or location of that theft however.

    In all, police say the suspects stole more than $100,000 in jewelry.

    Fred Harran, the Bensalem Police Director of Public Safety, believes the department will be able to find the third suspect quickly and even link all three suspects to more cases. Bensalem is one of the few departments in the state that uses DNA testing. 

    "We do have DNA tests from a lot of different crime scenes," Harran said. "I can only imagine that if we do have their DNA, there will be a crosscheck reference within about 30 days."

    Harran says that when it comes to DNA testing, cases of violent crimes takes precedent. That’s why Bensalem officials are using the town’s own money for DNA testing on property crimes.

    If you have any information on the whereabouts of the third suspect, please call Philadelphia or Bensalem Police.