ATLANTA - A security expert is warning that a rash of jewelry store robberies is the work of copycat criminals, and it may only get worse.
Beloved jewelry store owner Mitch Mobley was killed in a robbery at his Villa Rica store on Wednesday. Surveillance footage shows four men rushing in with hammers, busting the jewelry cases. During the heist, Mobley was shot and killed.
The Villa Rica robbery was the last of four jewelry heists in the Atlanta area this month.
Security expert Greg Norred, president of Norred and Associates, said the robberies look like a trend.
“I think this is the crime of the moment right now, and it will run its course. These guys will probably be caught and there will be something new next month,” Norred said.
June’s string of heists began at a Kay Jewelers in Snellville, where surveillance footage shows a couple robbing the store before shocking a store clerk with a Taser gun on their way out.
Two weeks later, a group of men walked into the Mayors jewelry store inside Lenox Mall and used hammers to smash jewelry cases. They got away with $500,000 worth of Rolex watches.
The same method was used at the Swiss Watch Expo on Peachtree Road in Buckhead on Wednesday.
“Until they’re caught, they’re going to become more brazen,” Norred said.
Police arrested Raphael Tucker, 23, Thursday morning and Eric Billings, 16, just after Mobley’s shooting, but they are still searching for two other suspects.