Suspect dies after jewelry store heist

Police look over damaged jewelry cases inside Ware Jewelers.
Police look over damaged jewelry cases inside Ware Jewelers.

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - One suspect in a Friday evening jewelry heist is dead while Montgomery police continue their search for a second suspect.

The robbery happened at Ware Jewelers at East Chase, an outdoor shopping center Friday afternoon.

"It's really sad," says Woods Culpepper.

Woods Culpepper and Jayne Burns shop at Ware Jewelers a lot.

"I had ordered something for my daughter for Christmas, and they were wrapping it.  I was going to pick it up, and we were going to look for some Christmas presents," adds Culpepper.

But this time, they weren't allowed inside.

"When we pulled up, I immediately saw a guy walking out of Wares in a security outfit and I just...there were police in there, and I just assumed they had been robbed," says Jayne Burns.

Police say one employee was hurt when two men robbed the jewelry store.

"[They] made everyone get on the ground, jumped the counter, and took an undetermined amount of jewelry," says Montgomery Police Department Captain Ron Cook.

Montgomery Police say when they got to the scene of the crime, East Chase security officers were already chasing the suspect through the parking lot and behind the Lane Bryant store.

"He went to the ground, they rolled him over, cuffed him, and at that time he had difficulty breathing," says Cook.

Police say paramedics transported the man to Jackson Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

In the meantime, they continue to look for the second suspect who got away.

But one shopper says he's not surprised to see this happen.

"It's usually about this time of year too...when it first family came down through here, and we saw two stores getting robbed actually," says Shane Hudson.

Still Culpepper and Burns say you can't stop crime from happening...anywhere.

"You can't guard when somebody just comes in and does something like that," says Culpepper.

"I hate that they feel like they have to do that.  But, unfortunately things are really bad right now," adds Burns.

Ware Jewelers is closed, but officials say it will reopen Saturday.

All other stores in East Chase are said to be operating normally but with an already heightened police presence due to the holidays.

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