'We might see more of this': Bold armed robbery leaves jeweller worried

A local St. John's jeweller is concerned his store may be targeted again after a recent robbery.
Davanna's jewelry store in the Avalon Mall was held up on Thursday night. (Katie Breen/CBC)

A local jeweller in St. John's is concerned his store may be targeted again after a recent robbery.

Richard Rooney, owner of Davanna's in the Avalon Mall, told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show a man walked into his store Thursday evening, told a clerk he had a gun and demanded she fill his bag with diamonds.

Because of the state of the economy today, we might see more of this.- Richard Rooney

Though the suspect, 41-year-old Ronald Jason Fitzgerald, has been arrested and charged with one count of armed robbery, Rooney's mind is not at ease.

"As one RCMP officer said to us, 'This is kind of the beginning,'" Rooney said. "Because of the state of the economy today, we might see more of this."

The jewelry, including diamonds and gold of high value, has not been recovered as of Tuesday.

Robberies becoming more frequent

Rooney said there have been multiple robberies and attempted robberies in the province since last fall. He recounted one particularly troubling incident from a few years ago.

Ronald Jason Fitzgerald, 41, has been arrested for an armed robbery at a jewelry store in the Avalon Mall in St. John's. (RNC)

"There was one robber that robbed three of my stores and he was caught every time and they kept on releasing him," Rooney said.

"The RNC and RCMP have been doing a great job catching these guys, but then it's out of their control … by the time [the police] catch them until something happens to them can be a very long time."

While Rooney admits there isn't much staff can do when a person walks into a store during working hours claiming to have a gun, people can be prudent with security when locking up.

"We've been successful in capturing these culprits because we have proper camera systems and security systems in place," he said.

Rooney has insurance, but it will not cover 100 per cent of the cost of the stolen jewels. He added his rates will likely increase due to the robbery.

No one was injured in the robbery and Rooney said the clerk is doing fine.

"I do think, however, a couple of other ladies in the store are finding it a bit traumatic," Rooney said, acknowledging that store management will continue to check in with employees to see how they're handling the ordeal.

Police are asking anyone with information about the stolen goods to contact the RNC or Crime Stoppers.

The RNC is also reminding the public anyone found in possession of stolen property could face charges under the Criminal Code.

With files from the St. John's Morning Show