The jewelry store thief was caught in the act on surveillance video. He's wanted for stealing more than $187,000 in jewelry from three South Jersey stores in Burlington and Camden counties.
"I couldn't believe he was doing it. I was in total disbelief because it felt at the moment like we had a good relationship going," said jeweler David Arlen.
David Arlen Jewelers in Hainesport was one of the victims and they say the bold criminal pretended to be buying engagement rings. He had his eye on high-end goods.
"Said he wanted to get engaged, (he) had a picture on his phone of his girlfriend that was to be his fiancé so we could see what type of jeweler she wore," Arlen said.
He then took off with two diamond rings.
While David Arlen Jewelers is out of $20,000 in jewelry, police say the suspect got away with more than $77,000 from Billig Jewelers in Marlton and more than $97,000 from Michael Jewelers in Haddon Heights. Many of these businesses have already been struggling given the pandemic.
"It hurts, for sure it hurts, having to be closed for a good amount of time and then just in this climate everything that's going on, it's hard to keep things going," Arlen said.
In spite of the contempt the man showed to David Arlen, this jeweler still has sympathy.
"It is bold and it's scary and I actually feel for him. I feel for this person that he was that desperate," Arlen said.
Police say the suspect got away in a black BMW. The suspect is described as standing 5-foot 9-inches tall. He was last seen with a grey zip up jacket with a Puma and BMW emblem and a gold watch on his left wrist.
Michael's Jewelers is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.