Man kidnaps family after armed robbery at LSO Jewelers in Port St. Lucie, police say

1 suspect forced 4 people to drive him to Broward
Posted at 10:20 AM, Apr 13, 2017

Three men, dressed like women with wigs, colorful jumpsuits and wearing heavy makeup, jumped out of a white SUV and robbed LSO Jewelers around 9 a.m. Thursday.

The three made their way in, one jumped across the sales counter and pulled a gun on one clerk, another suspect grabbed another clerk and held her at gunpoint.


“The poor lady who had the gun to her head was crying,” said Laurie Wells who works next door at a dental office.

Surveillance footage released by the Port St. Lucie Police Department shows the three then filling two duffel bags with jewelry. Detectives believe the three got spooked and ran off, leaving the duffel bags behind.

The getaway car drove off and one of the suspects entered into Kings Isle Community, where he gained access into a home. Inside he told four people there to stay on the ground.

Police said a struggle ensued between the suspect and two men. The suspect then pulled a gun and held all four victims at gunpoint for about an hour. He then had all four people get into a car and drive him to Fort Lauderdale where the suspect was dropped off and fled the scene.

The family of four arrived back home safely with only minor injuries.

Police were able to catch one of the suspects, identified as Jerome Simmons.

“We caught the one guy running across St Lucie West Blvd,” Master Sgt. Frank Sabol with Port St. Lucie PD said. “He had stripped out of his jumpsuit. We believe he was wearing a pink jumpsuit at the time.”

 At his first appearance Friday a judge set bond for Simmons at $850,000 and a public defender was appointed for him.

 For those who work and shop in the area of Thursday's robbery, it was a shocking experience.

“Before you knew it, we’re all in here and we hear sirens, and cops coming up and weapons are drawn,” Wells said.

Four schools had been placed on lockdown earlier in the day but the lockdown was lifted in the early afternoon.

Wells said officers told her and her co-workers to stay inside the dental office.

“They said we couldn’t leave the front, we couldn’t leave the back,” Wells said. “Patients were allowed to come and go at that very time.”

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