After 57 years in the jewellery business, Russell Dove has seen his fair share of snatch and grab robberies.
But the storeowner of Doves Jewellers, on Queen Street, St Marys, was thrilled when police returned to him $15,000 of gold chains stolen in February this year.
Mr Dove said he felt suspicious of a man lingering outside his store on the afternoon of February 22, just as he was leaving to go home.
“I could see the man, fairly well dressed, looking in the window of the shop for a long time. Even though he was well dressed I knew there was something suspicious about him,” Mr Dove said.
Just 15 minutes later when Mr Dove had gone home for the afternoon, he received a phone call saying the store had been robbed.
“He had devised this terrific story about celebrating his 12 month anniversary with his girlfriend and wanted to buy a gold chain for her and wanted to spend $4000 on it,” Mr Dove explained.
“After trying on different pieces for 15 minutes, he suddenly pushed Melanie, who was serving him, reached over the bench and stole two trays of jewellery. It was all caught on camera.”
One of the staff members tried to hold the man back from escaping by holding his waist but he managed to break free and ran out of the store.
“I was very impressed by the responsiveness of the public. Three members, one who I recognised, called Mick, pursued the man down the back alley and into the car park,” he said.
“The police were called and there was a car cruising nearby so they were here very, very quickly.”
St Marys Detective Acting Inspector, Crime Manager Brad Element, said that police were on scene quickly and were able to follow a trail of discarded jewellery.
“Police followed a trail of discarded jewellery that lead to the residential part of St Marys. We allege that at a residence the man was found in possession of some of the jewellery that had been stolen,” he said.
“The man has faced court and is currently on bail and is due next in court on June 15 facing the charge of robbery.”
Mr Element said it was great work by police to track the man down, and thanked members of the public that aided in the return of the stolen goods.
“One man found jewellery in his backyard and saw the price tags still attached so handed them in to police,” Mr Element said.
Mr Dove said he was very happy to have so much of his jewellery recovered.
“The police did a terrific job,” he said.