Accomplished jewel thief tells how to prevent smash-and-grabs

It is no surprise that thieves disregard safety measures and terrorize employees who work in stores with smash-and-grab burglaries. It’s also why many investment banks rely on overzealous security guards to keep watch. But…

Accomplished jewel thief tells how to prevent smash-and-grabs

It is no surprise that thieves disregard safety measures and terrorize employees who work in stores with smash-and-grab burglaries. It’s also why many investment banks rely on overzealous security guards to keep watch.

But what if you were never in the habit of breaking into jewelry stores? What if you didn’t buy any jewelry at all? What if your values were actually ones of practicality and fiscal restraint — then yes, smash-and-grabs would kill you. That’s the case for John Valdez, an ex-jewelry thief who took home more than $8 million by selling stolen goods, and who appeared on Inside Edition on Wednesday to discuss the mindset of jewelry thieves. Valdez said that the criminals would get rid of anything or anyone that might offend them — including the value of their loot.

So, how can you stop smash-and-grabs from happening in the first place?

According to Valdez, you can do several things. “Don’t sell things that are very valuable — pawn those items to anyone you want, sell to stores that are independently owned,” he said. “When I got into this, I knew the jewelry would only pay for itself over time, so I wouldn’t have to sell it until it was worth a lot of money.”

Valdez also implored shoppers not to take jewelry home with them on airplanes. The only theft method he suggested that would deter or help stop someone from stealing was a plan he made during his time on the streets: commit home burglaries. “Do a home invasion. Take the jewelry and take it back to your apartment, hide it. Disguise yourself and take the cash,” he said. “The police will never believe you. They’ll think you’re the same guy that you always were.”

Valdez says that he was neither well-versed in police procedures nor overly observant. “If it’s a thing where there’s no one there, you can take the jewelry home and hide it,” he said. “The way my mind was set, you didn’t have to be well read to do this.”

Valdez said that smashing people’s windows wasn’t his favorite method of stealing — however, it was his most effective. “I’d be parked in front of a store, knowing that they would be getting back to their car after work,” he said. “I’d come to the door, start banging the window and taking the jewelry. When they saw me, they would be outside the window quickly.”

It’s a brutal (and occasionally lethal) skill, and Valdez has learned all too well how difficult it is to uncover and eradicate from society. “The best thief is the one who can avoid capture and is not caught because they are expensive to catch,” he said. “The least expensive is the one who will make money from stealing.”

Watch the video below:

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