Suspected jewel thieves allegedly part of international crime syndicate 

The peaceful and upscale town of Burlingame temporarily became a hotbed for international organized crime earlier this year when an unwitting New Yorker arrived with a duffel bag of sparkling jewels.

The jewelry wholesaler was leaving the Crown Hotel with 300 trinkets worth $200,000 on Jan. 13 when he was allegedly accosted at gunpoint by two goons working for a South American mob, prosecutors in San Mateo County said.

Thugs in the internationally known crime syndicate are gems of the jewelry theft business but not known for their charm, authorities said. The robbers allegedly waited for the New Yorker to stash the duffel bag in his trunk before approaching — gun in hand — from behind, they said.

The victim called Burlingame police right after the robbery, which was perfect timing, cops said, as two hours later police were called by a Los Angeles detective that was hunting the syndicate with an FBI task force.

Any robberies in town? As a matter of fact, yes, Burlingame police said.

Later that day, prosecutors said, authorities managed to track down two suspect cars in Los Angeles, one which contained the New Yorker’s jewels.

Six suspects ranging in age between 24 and 40 were arrested and are scheduled to return to a San Mateo County courtroom Aug. 20. They remain in custody on $200,000 bail, and all have immigration holds and so cannot be released from custody, prosecutors said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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