NAPLES, Fla. - Armed bandits, a jewelery store owner, and open fire in the middle of a parking lot. That was the scene Tuesday afternoon at Thalheimers Jewelers in Naples during a robbery. Now, WINK News is learning the extreme steps store owners take to make sure the next crime doesn't happen in their store.
Police confirming as many as six people may be wanted for the jewelery heist, and the third getaway car identified as a silver vehicle. It was thanks to an industry bulletin that went out immediately, Kathy Bigham of Bigham Jewelers says stores in the area were on high alert after the robbery and shootout.
Bigham tells WINK News these thieves are skilled, "they take a lot of time watching the comings and goings of the organization or the sales rep they're targeting. They hone in on just the right time to make their hit."
In fact, dealing with calculated robberies like this is part of the business. Many jewelers like Thalheimer and Bigham's brother carry guns.
Safety is this owner's top priority, and she has to watch her back 24/7, even taking a different route to and from work everyday. Bigham backs her car into parking spots for easy getaway and does multiple lock downs throughout the day at the store.
Both store owners say they've heard the thieves are sometimes trained in other countries before hitting jewelers in the U.S.
Bigham says store owners take a major hit in the pocket with robberies due to large insurance deductibles.
RENEE STOLL, REPORTER