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Gemstone worth £800 STOLEN!

Smash & Grab

A group was caught on CCTV robbing a giant £800 rock on a Stoke-on-Trent company in a smash-and-grab raid. Thieves hit under the cover of darkness at Crystal Holdings and the adjacent Lapidary store, in Waterloo Lane, Burslem. It is the new Stoke-on-Trent company to be invaded by lockdown criminals looking to make quick money during the pandemic.

Burslem's Tony Chen was dismayed to discover the break-in at the store of her brother Phillip Chen Han, who has been with the family for around 70 years. The shop sells a variety of crystals, minerals, fossils and handmade jewellery.

Tony stated: "From a neighbouring house, we looked at the CCTV. We saw them coming and they kicked through the bottom of the fence. At least they were there and we thought there may have been a third support. 

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"They then went off, maybe to check and see whether someone was coming or whether the alarm was going to go off. They then came back before going out again and this cycle was repeated.
"They reached in when they spotted their chance, and took what they needed.
"The main item we took was a high quality amethyst rock worth about £800.
"The police and PCSO came out and they're pretty sure whoever did this is local. They think we've been hit.
"A lot of those kinds of crimes are happening right now.
"These yobbos are for themselves only, they believe they're above the rules.
"And if they don't steal something they can cause a great deal of criminal harm. We had to cover the door bottom up.
The Chen family first moved to Stoke-on - Trent in the 1950's from their native China.
Tony added: "My dad had fought in the war for the Allied Powers against the Japanese before coming to Burslem.
"In that very shop my brother now owns, he started a laundry company. My uncle, if history, decided to turn his hobby into his career, and the rest.
"The retail side had failed owing to Burslem 's demise in the last 20 years or so anyway.
"My brother also shows selling his jewellery about 30 weekends of the years to raise his profits, but all of them have been cancelled due to lockdown.
"It's his primary source of income and so it is heartbreaking to have this break-in happen at a time like this.
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"Small companies and the self-employed didn't get much help. I'm sure there's going to be a lot going under.
"At a time such as this people are expected to support one another and look out for one another. It's just a blow in the face.'
Police are now searching for witnesses to the raid that took place Monday at 1.30am (May 4).

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