HOUSTON (AP) - Brazen jewel thieves are robbing traveling
dealers around Houston.
The daylight heists have left Houston-area jewelers on edge.
Authorities say the rash of heists has cost its victims three
million dollars' worth of stolen valuables.
The fourth holdup in three weeks happened yesterday when police
say three masked men walked into a Waffle House. Investigators say
the thieves went straight for a dealer seated in a corner booth,
pistol-whipped him and made off with 1.4 million dollars in
Steven Silver works for the Texas Jewelers Security Hotline. He
says Houston's fast getting a reputation as a city for traveling
dealers to avoid. He adds that many insurance companies won't even
allow the salesmen to pass through the Bayou City anymore.
FBI agents believe the robbers are part of a larger ring known
as the South American Theft Group, which has operated in United
States for at least 20 years.
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