Last updateTue, 17 Apr 2018 11pm

Georgia Jeweler robbed at gun point

Earl Butler, owner, along with his wife Kathy, of K E Butler & Co. Jewelers in Vidalia, GA was robbed at gun point on Thursday, July 2 at 10:15 AM.

At 10:10 that morning a lone female entered the store while talking on her cell phone. Butler, alone in his store, asked her if he could help her and she told him she had a neck chain that was broken. He asked to look at the chain and told her that it could be repaired, but would not be ready until the next week. She replied that she didn't want him to fix it, only to know if it could be done and took the chain and left.

Three minutes later, two masked men wearing gloves came running into the store. One stopped at the diamond case and with a cement block broke the glass and started helping himself to the fine jewelry that was in the case. The other man ran to the back of the store where Butler was and with two guns aimed at him demanded that he get on the floor. He quickly got on the floor, face down. They took his wallet and after 30 to 40 seconds in the store they left as quickly as they came. After hearing the door open and close, Butler looked up to make sure they were gone and immediately pushed the panic button.

There were many witnesses in the parking lot, as the store is in a strip center with very active businesses. The police responded and were at the store in less than three minutes. The witnesses cooperated fully with the police giving getaway vehicle details. The woman was caught that day and the two armed robbers were caught the next day.

"I truly believe that one of the main reasons they were caught was because of the cameras that Metro Distributors (owned by Butler's brother, Gaines) had installed just this past November," said Butler. "They got a good picture of the female and of the other two which led to their arrest for this robbery and several others in the area."

Butler wants his fellow retailer jewelers to know: "I can't stress enough the importance of having cameras on the premises. I know the feeling: ‘they are expensive.' But in today's environment, they are a business necessity. We are now preparing to have a buzzer system installed to keep the doors locked and buzz customers in."