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Thief gets away with $80K in jewelry from Gastonia Kohl's: Police

The suspect was caught on camera smashing a jewelry case before using pepper spray on an employee who tried to intervene.

GASTONIA, N.C. — Gastonia police released surveillance video Tuesday of a person they claim stole $80,000 worth of jewelry from a Kohl's in Gastonia and allegedly pepper sprayed an employee who approached them. Gastonia police said the robbery happened on Jan. 17, 2023, at Kohl's on East Franklin Boulevard. 

Rick Goodale, spokesman for the Gastonia Police Department told us Thursday, "this was not a crime of opportunity.  He knew what he wanted and was not going to be deterred."  

Police say the suspect was in the store for quite some time before he started smashing display cases.  They want to get him off the streets as soon as possible.

"One of our concerns" , explained Goodale, "is watching the video, he came with two weapons.  He had a hammer and pepper spray.  He came with a plan."

Surveillance video shows the suspect using a hammer to smash a jewelry case that police say contained several wedding rings and accessories. The suspect then pepper-sprayed an employee who approached him. 

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The suspect was caught on multiple cameras as he ran out of the store.  Authorities realize he's wearing a mask but hope someone recognizes his movement, clothing or even the way he walks.

Credit: Gastonia Police Department
The suspect pepper-sprayed a Kohl's employee before running off with approximately $80,000 in jewelry, police said.

The suspect was identified as a white male and was last seen wearing a black hoodie, a black baseball cap with white letters and a mask over his face. He has blond or light-colored hair. 

Any person with information about this suspect or this crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Gaston County at 704-861-8000. Anyone with information that leads to an arrest may be eligible for a cash reward. All calls to Crime Stoppers are anonymous. 

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