Ever since Joe Pesci used a sledgehammer for a jewelry heist in Casino, crooks around the country have been getting some wise ideas. The most recent one went down in Weston, Florida sometime last weekend. When employees of Groupe Logo, company that sells designer sunglasses, arrived at work Monday morning, they found a square foot hole in the roof and a ransacked business.
According to a news release by the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the burglars made off with over $100,000 in merchandise. Maybe we should be scouring South Florida’s beaches and pools for clues.
Joking aside, the crooks made entry after hammering away at about two inches of concrete and roofing materials after which they somehow cut through the metal roofing structure. Once inside, they kicked open doors, ripped out security cameras, and hit the booty hardcore.
The heist seems pretty professional and very brazen. These guys knew what they were doing. Not only did they know this business stored a six figure inventory in small, lightweight items that are very easy to transport, that are in high demand, that command high value, and are completely untraceable (unlike a cell phone with an IMEI number) but they also knew to rip out the DVR recorder that stored all the surveillance video from security cameras. They also knew when to hit the business. The timing of this heist was no accident.
While I have not seen a police report yet, I am sure investigators did not find any fingerprints, DNA, fiber, or other trace evidence. I am equally sure there were also no eye witnesses.
Interestingly enough, the burglars made their getaway by stealing vans from an adjacent business. At first you may wonder why they did this, considering the vans were later abandoned and the fact that a burglar with a vehicle full of stolen merchandise may want to avoid getting pulled over after the van is reported stolen.
The answer is because they knew the vans would not be reported stolen until well after the heist was over and because they provide an accessible means to transport the loot.
I bet these guys had a lot of information about the target business and the adjacent business. I would bet anything these businesses are vacant on weekends with not a single soul coming by. I would also bet those vans sit parked and unused all weekend as well.
The burglars knew that even if they stole two vans on a Friday night, it would go unreported until Monday morning. This gives them ample time to load the stolen goods, transport them to another location, unload the goods, and then dump the vans somewhere safe. This holds true even if you assume, smartly of course, that the commercial vans are equipped with GPS trackers, as most commercial vehicles are.
This heist shows a tremendous amount of effort in terms of preparation and planning. These guys aren’t a bunch of clowns that leave their wallet behind at the crime scene or go posting videos of themselves with the stolen goods on Facebook.
That said, they are in a dangerous business. The way smart criminals get caught is when their well laid plan encounters something they didn’t anticipate and things spiral out of control as a result. Even the smallest mess up can give investigators the clue they need to break a case wide open.
In fact, there is a pending homicide in Broward County where police tied the crime scene to the person accused from DNA found on the mouth of a discarded soda can. The match was allegedly made years later when the defendant was convicted of an unrelated offense and a DNA sample was taken in the natural course of resolving his case, like any other defendant.
If you have any information about this case, you can contact Sgt. Jeff Mellies at (954) 659-3531. You can also report anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers of Broward County at (954) 493-TIPS (8477) or online at www.browardcrimestoppers.org. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $3,000 for information that leads to an arrest.
We will be following this story as it develops…