Crime and Safety

Thief wheels trash can along NYC street — with $225K jewel stash inside: cops

Brazen thieves used a rolling trash can to clean up at a Chelsea jewelry show — swiping $225,000 in pricey baubles in broad daylight and then wheeling the full container down the street, cops said Friday.

Stunning surveillance footage captured one of the crooks calmly pushing the trash can, with the illicit gold, diamond- and pearl-laden goodies in a bag inside, along a Manhattan sidewalk.

It was at least the suspected second heist for the crew, which also swiped more than $225,000 from a Javits Center show in Manhattan last month — bringing their illicit total to over half a million dollars, NBC-TV reported.

In their latest crime, the gang of thieves — three men and a woman — entered the New York City Jewelry and Watch Show at the Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th Street near Sixth Avenue around 11 a.m. Oct. 26, police said.

One of the suspects — a man with salt-and-pepper hair and dressed casually in black slacks and a sweater — simply snatched a cardboard box with 120 pieces of antique jewelry from a display as vendors were milling around setting up, according to police and footage obtained by NBC.

One of the male suspects apparently wheeled away the stolen jewels in a trash can.
One of the male suspects apparently wheeled away the stolen jewels in a trash can.

Cops released other footage of the thief then pushing the trash can along the sidewalk out front as a male cohort in a buttoned-up cardigan trailed behind him. Both men were wearing COVID face masks at the time.

Before making it to the corner, the first man lifted a vacuum cleaner from the container, and the other man grabbed the trash bag with the stolen goodies inside before both men fled, the video shows.

Julia Rover, a collector who owns the swiped jewelry, told NBC that the pilfered pieces are 150 years old on average, with some dating back around 300 years.

“All of these pieces are rare, unusual and have survived all this time in amazing condition,” Rover said of the collection of bracelets, rings and necklaces.

Cops released surveillance photos of the suspects.
Cops released surveillance photos of the suspects.

“It would be quite a tragedy if these items are destroyed.”

Rover, who posted photos of some of the stolen goods on Instagram, said she spent her life collecting the pieces.

“It does happen in a blink of an eye and when you least expect it,” she said of the heist. “All of these pieces are unique wearable pieces of art.”

The watch show featured “a worldwide selection of jewelers presenting incomparable collections of antique, estate, modern and contemporary jewelry and watches,” according to its website. 

The incident also came weeks before cops say a pair of other gun-toting crooks robbed three Diamond District customers of $72,000 in pricey jewelry.

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