PORTSMOUTH -- 'He was a nice-looking, young man,' recalled Norma Robinson.'I let my guard down.'
In what amounted to moments, that'nice-looking young man' swept his arm across a counter in Gemstone Jewelry Box in Churchland, grabbing about $11,000 worth of gold bracelets, then ran.
It happened shortly before 1:00 p.m. August 1 when Robinson and her daughter-in-law, Michelle, were working at Robinson's store on Tyre Neck Road.
The person they thought was a customer said he wanted to buy a bracelet for his girlfriend. Michelle Robinson showed him some pieces of jewelry. She stepped away from a display case to answer the phone, and Robinson stepped in to help the 'customer.'
Despite a budget of $300, he asked to see some of Robinson's most expensive bracelets.
'Took 'em all four out, laid 'em on the counter, and as soon as I did, he scooped 'em up and took off out the door, and I was right behind him,' Robinson told 13News Now.
'It's disarming, to say the least,' said Michelle Robinson. 'This was a young boy who you'd never really think twice about, who you're working with, and, then, to do something like that, it knocks you a little off.'
A surveillance camera outside a business around the corner from the jewelry store showed the arrival of that 'customer.' He got out of a burgundy or maroon Nissan Maxima that had other people in it. He had on a long-sleeve Dallas Cowboys shirt and wore shorts and a jungle-style hat. The same camera showed him running back to the car after he left Robinson's store. Detectives believe he was between the ages of 17 and 21.
'When you've been in this situation, it does make you look twice at someone coming through the door who you know absolutely nothing about,' noted Michelle Robinson.
'Unfortunately, I'm still naive. I'm still a little bit naive, and I want to basically trust people until I find out I can't,' said Robinson. 'You know, he's a sweet-looking little boy, and just got my guard down.'
Robinson's daughter-in-law added, 'Beware of baby-faced bandits.'
Anyone with information is asked to call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.