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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Armed robbery at Route 50 jewelry store

The Route 50 Gold & Jewelry Exchange

When armed robbers hit the Route 50 Gold & Jewelry Exchange July 14, they took irreplaceable items of sentimental value.

That’s what happened to one local resident who went to the store the next day to retrieve a couple of pieces of jewelry she had pawned and learned they were gone. She lost a one-of-a-kind $1,200 silver ring with a moonstone and a pair of silver earrings—and doubts she will ever see them again.

The robbery occurred at about 6 p.m., when two masked men entered the store waving guns around, said general manager Kevin O’Dell. They smashed four display cases, taking whatever jewelry they could and ordered the two employees working there into the back room.

There were no customers in the store, fortunately, says O’Dell, who wasn’t there during the robbery, either. When he arrived later, “there was broken glass everywhere,” he said. “It was brutal.”

An employee who was there, and is still pretty shaken up, said one of the robbers pointed a gun at him numerous times as they made him and a co-worker lie on the floor in the back room and threatened to shoot if they didn’t tell them how to open the safe.

There wasn’t a lot of cash in the safe, but there was jewelry on loan, including the moonstone ring. The store is fully insured, O’Dell said, “but some things have sentimental value and can’t be replaced. We understand that but when you have gun pointed at your head, it’s very upsetting.”

According to the employee, one of the robbers was African-American, but he could only see the other one’s feet from his vantage point on the floor.   

The Gold & Jewelry Exchange is at 6670 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church, at the intersection with Annandale Road. O’Dell believes the robbers had done some research because “they knew which cases had the nice stuff” and they picked a Monday because that’s when the bar next door, JVs, is not crowded.

O’Dell plans to beef up security at the store. He already installed a buzzer at the front door,  plans to move the cashier’s counter to back of the store, requires employees to wear firearms, and is thinking of hiring an armed guard. “We’ve been here five years and never had any problems before,” he said.

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