The FBI said Friday a $25,000 reward is being offered for information in a pair of attempted jewelry store heists last month they believe may be related – a successful heist in West Bloomfield and an attempt earlier that day in Grand Rapids.
The FBI Detroit Field Office announced the reward at a news conference and also distributed new photos of the suspects and vehicles they think may have been involved in the robbery at Tapper’s Diamonds and Fine Gifts on April 22, The Detroit Free Press reports.
In the Tapper’s robbery, three men armed with handguns ordered employees and shoppers to the floor, then robbed the store. They were out of the store within two minutes.
Earlier in the day in Grand Rapids, located about two hours away from West Bloomfield, a similar scene had begun to unfold at Paul Medawar Fine Jewelry.
Once inside, a gunfight ensued and the owner of the store is believed to have shot one of the suspects, Paul Abbate, special agent in charge of the FBI Detroit Division, said during the news conference.
Similarities in the type of gloves and clothing worn by the suspects in both incidents, descriptions of the vehicles used, and techniques and methods of operation offer the FBI “a very high degree of confidence that these two incidents are related,” Abbate said.
“We believe there are people out there that can help us with this investigation,” Abbate said, according to a report from The Detroit News. “We’re concerned for the escalation of violence that could occur with armed individuals doing forcible robberies in jewelry stores and other public venues.”
Multiple police agencies are assisting in the investigation.
The FBI released new pictures of vehicles they believe may have been used, including a newer model Volkswagen Passat, a black Chrysler Town and Country and a black Chevy Equinox. They may have out-of-state license plates.
The photos released of suspects are “people that we believe are connected to the incident, that were inside the West Bloomfield mall location shortly before the incident and they have a connection to the individuals that we know entered and robbed the Tapper’s Fine Jewelry location,” West Bloomfield Police Chief Michael Patton said.Some of the men in the pictures were believed to have been involved in the robbery, while others were seen in the suspected vehicles.