Suspects caught following Wolfchase jewelry heist

http://archive.commercialappeal.com/news/crime/Suspect-caught-in-attempted-Wolfchase-jewelry-heist-395568991.html

By Jody Callahan of The Commercial Appeal

For the second time in less than three years, a robber smashed into a case full of Rolex watches Sunday at Reeds Jewelers in the Wolfchase Galleria.

And as with the first time, the bumbling suspects were caught.

This latest incident happened a little after 1 p.m. Sunday, when a man — armed with a small sledgehammer — apparently smashed the case containing the Rolexes. Although police haven’t confirmed that detail, a smashed case was visible inside the store Sunday afternoon, a sledgehammer nearby on the floor.

The man grabbed several watches, dropped the hammer and ran. Reeds is at least 150 feet from the closest exit; police weren’t saying yet which way the robber ran.

But he managed to get out of the mall and into a car with two other suspects, both women.

They fled from the mall, but police had a description of the getaway vehicle — a red-and-white Dodge Challenger. Officers saturated the area as the suspects fled east on Interstate 40, then south on Tennessee 385, police said. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the Tennessee Highway Patrol joined the search, and just north of Macon and 385, police stopped the car and took all three suspects into custody.

No shots were fired, and no one was injured in the incident.

This follows another heist at that same jewelry store on Jan. 18, 2014. That robbery appeared more professional, at least at the outset. Six men with sledgehammers burst into the store and stole more than $500,000 worth of watches.

The suspects were later caught in Texas, largely because police traced a phone one of them dropped during the holdup.

Shortly after Sunday’s heist, mall security attempted to run off reporters and patrons who were lingering around the store, which had its security gates pulled down. Still, passersby could see the case containing the watches had spider-webbed glass, and a sledgehammer was lying on the floor next to the case.

Employees at several nearby stores acknowledged seeing or hearing the ruckus, but would not comment on the record. A man identifying himself as the district manager for Reeds also would not comment.

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