Queens Men Allegedly Follow, Rob $330K From Longtime Jeweler
NEW YORK — These bracelets aren't bedazzled.
Cops cuffed a Queens pair Tuesday that allegedly tailed a Chelsea jewelry designer and her fiancé from a March trade show in Boston to a storage site in New York, then snatched nearly her entire collection while the couple's backs were turned.
Edgar Lozada, 43, of Jackson Heights, and his son, Jhonathan, 23, of East Corona, were charged with criminal possession of stolen property and grand larceny, the NYPD said.
Roughly 140 gold and silver necklaces, rings and other pieces — together worth about $330,000 — were stolen, said John Speaks, 60, who is engaged to marry jeweler Keiko Mita this summer and accompanied her to Boston March 26.
"They took essentially everything. Ninety-five percent of the collection," Speaks said. "It was devastating."
The Lozadas allegedly stalked Mita, 49, and Speaks for more than 200 miles, trailing the couple's minivan from the Boston Crafts Show where Mita had displayed her wares, to a Manhattan Mini Storage in Chelsea, Speaks said in a telephone interview Friday.
As soon as Mita and Speaks went inside the facility, which they use to store a display booth, the robbers shattered one of the van's tinted windows, grabbed a suitcase containing the jewelry and fled, Speaks said. Other bags, suitcases and a purse were left behind.
"They knew exactly where the jewelry was," Speaks stated. "To them it was a job. They don't think how they destroyed people's lives. This is what they do."
Surveillance video showed one of the men acting as lookout, standing in the middle of the parking lot then waving to an accomplice. The second suspect "came running around the corner full speed, directly to the car, directly to the window," Speaks recounted.
"You get sick to your stomach," he said. "It's everything you have. And for Keiko, it's especially devastating. She's been a jeweler for 18 years. Some of the pieces are sentimental pieces she's had with her a long time. When I came out, she was just slumped against the car, and just said, 'It's gone.'"
Insurers apparently said they will not help the couple. "They say the vehicle's unattended," Speaks said.
Hence, he and Mita are "trying to reinvent ourselves, so to speak, trying to do more custom work. We're setting up a website to sell our jewelry and the jewelry of our friends, the sort of thing that you don't have to carry such a large inventory."