A federal court case in Virginia is exposing ow criminal gangs target traveling jewelry salesman as they make heir rounds to customers.
Authorities say the eight men and women charged in the case are ied to a so-called South American theft group, a label typically pplied to Colombian criminals who target jewelry salesmen. They're ccused in at least 15 robberies and two car break-ins totaling bout $4.6 million in jewelry along the East Coast.
The crimes follow a familiar pattern.
Thieves stake out jewelry stores looking for well-dressed men arrying large cases. Then they tail the courier to the next estination. They confront the salesman, sometimes in parking lots, lash his car tires and smash out the windows, making a quick grab for a bag of gems.