Police in 3 states seek female jewelry store robber

Police released this photo from the August 11 robbery of Reeds Jewelers in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Story highlights

  • The robberies occurred in three states in less than a month
  • In each case, employees said the robber was a woman; tactics were similar

(CNN)The approaches are strikingly similar: Robber enters a jewelry store, whips out a gun and forces employees into the back before taking off with merchandise.

In each of three recent robberies, the thief was described as a woman who allegedly tied up store employees before loading up on valuables. The robberies occurred in three states, at three different franchises, between early August and early September.
Authorities in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida are investigating whether there are connections between the three.

    Georgia: She had 'masculine build'

    The first robbery, on August 5, targeted a Zales store Dawsonville, Georgia, about 60 miles north of Atlanta.
    Authorities say they believe  this woman is a suspect in the Zales store robbery in Dawsonville, Georgia.
    The robber was a woman with a "masculine build," said Tony Wooten, a spokesman for the Dawson County Sheriff's Office.
    She entered the store as soon as it opened in the morning, brandished a gun and made away with valuables worth an estimated $13,000, Wooten said.
    "She forced employees to the back of the store, where she zip-tied their hands before robbing the Zales," he said.
    It appears she was acting alone, but authorities said they cannot rule out whether she had help.
    She vanished into thin air, leaving authorities scrambling for clues.

    Florida: $400,000 in merchandise stolen

    About a week later, a woman robbed a Reeds store in Panama City Beach, on Florida's Gulf Coast.
    Police in Panama City Beach, Florida, released this photo of a female suspect in the robbery of a jewelry store.
    In this case, the haul was much larger: merchandise worth more than $400,000.
    The robber "was armed with a small firearm, zip-tied the two female employees and ordered them into the restroom," said Robert Clarkson of the Panama City Beach Police Department.
    She then grabbed jewelry from the showcase boxes before taking off.
    "The employee stated the suspect had entered the store one day prior to the robbery and asked about the same items," Clarkson said.

    South Carolina: She wore a striped skirt

    The next incident occurred last week at a Jared store on the South Carolina coast, in Bluffton.