Gunman Strikes Jewelry Store In Tahoe

A masked bandit made off with what could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars in jewelry from a Kingsbury Grade shop in Tahoe on Tuesday morning, authorities said.

"He wasn't aggressive, he was more demanding," said one of the two women working at J.P. Chadom Jewelers at the time of the 11:30 a.m. robbery, while dabbing tears from her cheeks.

After robbing the store, the gunman, described as a clean-shaven white male in his mid-20s, fled on foot with three cases containing more than 20 pieces of jewelry each, according to shop owner Joey Chacon.

The robber also took five small boxes containing individual pieces, including one ring with an Australian red pinfire opal, which retails for more than $18,000, Chacon said.

Although unsure of the exact value of the stolen merchandise, Chacon's initial estimates would put the value of the jewelry at more than $200,000.

Exiting the store with the jewelry, the man fled toward the rear of the Kingsbury Station building that houses the shop, running through a breezeway before disappearing, according to an eyewitness who wished to remain anonymous.

The man was last seen at the corner of Deer Run Court and Market Street in Stateline, according to a press release from the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

Oliver's Jewelry in Round Hill was burglarized twice this month -- on Aug. 14 and Aug. 17 -- but neither of those thefts were as brazen as the Chadom's robbery.

This was the first time the store has been robbed in 21 years of business, according to Chacon.

"I've never had anything like this. It's very unusual," the long-time South Lake Tahoe resident said outside his second-floor shop on Tuesday. "You don't expect that to happen here in the middle of the day."

By noon on Tuesday, K9 officers from Douglas County Sheriff's Office were tracking the gunman and investigators were examining surveillance video taken at the scene.

A surveillance system was part of approximately $35,000 in recent remodels to the shop, according to a December 2006 article in the Tribune.

The robber was described as slender, between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet tall, with short brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a black, long-sleeved jacket, black or dark blue baggy shorts, and tan or brown shoes, according to a press statement from Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

Anyone with information regarding the robbery is asked to call investigator Dennis Slater at (775) 588 -7255.