Morris County authorities say they have arrested three men in connection with a series of attempted jewelry store scams throughout New Jersey, including one that ended as an armed robbery in Red Bank in March.
The Daily Record of Morristown reports that police in Kinnelon arrested the trio Saturday after they tried using their signature scam on a jewelry store there.
According to Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi, suspect David Bell, 57, of Newark
is believed to have shown employees a single authentic 1 oz. gold Canadian Maple Leaf coin and have told employees he had a large quantity he had received as an inheritance and wanted to sell for cash.
In some cases, Bell then negotiated a price, in one case $100,000, Bianchi said. He would then in return at a later date with at least one accomplice in at least some cases believed to have been [William] Gary or [Hakim] Shaheed and a large amount of counterfeit coins encased in an intricate wrapping, Bianchi said.
The scam didn’t fool any of the six jewelry stores, Bianchi said, but authorities believed the alleged scam could have been successful at other locations.
Bianchi said some seven stores had been targeted. He didn’t release the names of the targeted stores, but did give out towns and dates, the first of which, he said, was in Red Bank on March 9.
That afternoon, the Little Diamond on Shrewsbury Avenue was robbed in a manner that matches the M.O. described by Bianchi.
In that case, Red Bank police said robbers had posed as coin sellers before pulling a gun on store employees. At the time, police said they were looking for two suspects.
The other stores are in Rockaway, Dover, Phillipsburg, Passaic, Vineland and Kinnelon, the Record reports.
Gary is 52 and a resident of Scotch Plains; Hakim Shaheed, 55, is from Sicklerville, the Record reports.