Interstate Thieves Hit Brookfield Jewelry Store

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BROOKFIELD - Brookfield Square has found itself in the center of a multi-state theft ring after a group of criminals struck one of its jewelry stores.

The has targeted and stolen items from jewelry stores close to interstate highways.

This time, they took a ring valued at $36,000 from Rogers and Holland's in Brookfield Square last week.

"The suspect came in, was shopping for rings and asked to look at a very expensive one," said Brookfield Police Captain Jim Adlam. "They asked for a license, which he provided. He grabbed the ring and ran."

After running a check of his identification, they found that it was stolen.

An artist's depiction of the suspect in the Brookfield Square jewelry robbery.Following a check with Michigan State police, Captain Adlam learned this man is one of up to 30 people.

Authorities believe the group came from the Detroit area and quickly went on the move after each theft.

"The suspects typically stay right along a major interstate and hit a mall right off of the interstate," explained Adlam. "Once they hit one mall, they will drive about an hour and do it again."

On the same day as the Brookfield Square theft, someone from the group struck another jewelry store at the Gurnee Mills Mall in Gurnee, Ill.

"(It is) right off the freeway and fits the description, so they were heading in that direction."

The thieves look for high-profile items. In this case, they took an engagement ring worth $36,000.

What they do with the jewels after that is still unknown.

"Whether they're pawning them or turning them over to other jewelers, or melting them and selling the diamonds, we don't know, but it's going to be hard to trace these rings," said Adlam.

Because the thieves move so fast, Captain Adlam believes they are no longer in our area, and probably won't be again.

There may not be much stores can do to protect themselves.

"Even when people follow procedures, if people want something bad enough they'll get it."

Brookfield Police are working on getting surveillance video, DNA samples and Fingerprints from Rogers and Hollands.

So far the states that have been affected include Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi and Wisconsin.