Police search for suspects in Jewelers Row burglary

PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) Police say they are on the hunt for two men shown on surveillance video stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry.

The burglary happened in the early morning hours last Saturday on Jewelers Row. Now the store owner has some serious security concerns along the iconic stretch of jewelry stores.

Barsky Diamonds has been a fixture on Jewelers Row for more than a century. Longtime jeweler Jeffrey Barsky has seen the surveillance video of  the alleged thieves burglarizing his Sansom Street store and it sickens him.

"It just takes your soul and shakes it up and it's a terrible thing to be robbed,” he told FOX 29.

But nearly a week after the heist, Barsky is also angry.

"This is the result of not giving the police what they need to bring back 24-hour protection,” he explained.

According to the surveillance video, the men calmly walked down Sansom around 3;30 Saturday morning, with no one else in sight.

They hot-wired the outer security gate- repaired after a November, 2014 burglary. Then made their way through the front door, and methodically stole diamond rings and earrings worth some $400,000 dollars, according to the owner. A tripped security alarm sent police racing to the scene but it was too late.

Barsky says a decade or more ago, police staffed this stretch full time-- even in the late night and early hours of the morning.

A Philadelphia police spokesman says they understand the unique nature of Jewelers Row and its attraction for thieves. But they say a tight budget forces them to prioritize protecting people over property.

"The overnight hours, you can't watch every single business and know what store may be targeted.  But we do have patrol that's taking place throughout the course of the entire city overnight,” said Philadelphia Lt. John Stanford.

Barsky says he and his fellow jewelers have considered private security in the overnight hours, but called it prohibitively expensive.
Besides, he says: "If you pay your taxes, you want to get your dollars’ worth.  We are not."

Barsky hopes his plea for more police protection reaches Mayor Kenney in this upcoming budget season.
No comment from the mayor's office.

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