17 metro Detroiters charged in nationwide string of jewelry store robberies

Seventeen metro Detroiters have been charged in connection with a series of jewelry store robberies across the country.
Seventeen metro Detroiters have been charged in connection with a series of jewelry store robberies across the country. 

The U.S. Attorney's Office, the FBI and local law enforcement agencies have been working together since last summer to piece these crimes together. They announced the arrests and charges in a press conference Friday morning. 

"By bringing all of these law enforcement officials together, and bringing federal charges, we are able to charge these individuals with crimes that carry a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison, and we are hoping to send a positive deterrent message to those who think they can divide and conquer us. You're wrong; we work together. So, those plans are going to be thwarted," says U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade. 

The officials say the crimes date back to 2012, and that the smash-and-grabs took place in New York, Maryland, North Carolina, Nebraska, Mississippi and Connecticut. 

They say the suspects' method is to use a sledgehammer to break open the jewelry cases, and then sell the stolen goods on the black market. 

Right now, at least 25 smash-and-grabs in Michigan remain unsolved. Up to 60 remain unsolved across the country. Authorities are working to determine if this group of suspects could be connected to any of those crimes. 

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