Valleywide : Reward Offered on Jewelry Theft Ring

A Las Vegas man on Thursday announced a $50,000 reward for information on a ring of jewelry thieves who Los Angeles police say have stolen about $1.5 million in merchandise in the San Fernando Valley.

Alexander Mahban, who was in Downtown Los Angeles recently at a jewelry expo, had $8 million to $10 million worth of jewelry stolen from the trunk of his car, LAPD Detective Mike Woodings said.

Woodings believes the same robbery ring held up a Porter Ranch jewelry dealer at gunpoint Oct. 2, stealing $500,000 of his wares. Three days later, a retailer was robbed at gunpoint of $1 million in jewelry as he dropped off merchandise in Sherman Oaks.

The robbers probably belong to an international ring of South American thieves who also operate in Europe and Asia, Woodings said. In Los Angeles, they follow salespeople from the jewelry district to their homes before committing the robbery, or may strike when salespeople park their cars.

Woodings said the robberies have become more frequent and vicious.

"They're either getting more bold or more desperate," he said.

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