Dallas-area malls warned about 'Three-Minute Gang' of jewelry thieves

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by By STEVE THOMPSON / The Dallas Morning News sthompson@dallasnews.com

wfaa.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 16 at 11:13 AM

Ten years ago, they were accused of belonging to a crime ring that stole as much as $80 million worth of jewelry from stores in 12 states.

Now malls in North Texas are on the lookout for them again. Several members of the Three-Minute Gang may be part of a new crew hitting jewelry stores inside shopping centers, according to security bulletin obtained by WFAA-TV (Channel 8).

"Ensure that all officers are aware of this, especially the graveyard shift," the bulletin says. "These suspects are currently in the city of Dallas."

The bulletin has been circulated to area malls, including NorthPark Center, WFAA reported.

Among seven men listed in the bulletin are Tony Jerome Whitaker and brothers Clayton and Clinton Randolph. They were members of a gang that plagued jewelry stores over a five-year period until 1999, when DNA evidence helped linked them to the crimes, according to court records and news reports.

The gang got its name by its smash-and-grab method, which it performed in three minutes to evade responding police. They were based in California, but were also investigated in connection with burglaries in Texas, Arizona, Illinois, South Carolina, Missouri, Michigan, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida and New York, according to a 1999 article in the Contra Costa Times of Walnut Creek, Calif.

Records were not available Monday to determine how much prison time the gang members may have served or when they were released.

According to the recent bulletin, the new crew has been active before stores open between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m., especially on Sundays and Mondays.

The bulletin says the crew typically uses a scout to check out jewelry stores before a burglary, identifying items of value and mapping escape routes. Clayton Randolph was believed to have scouted a San Antonio mall on May 7, the bulletin says.

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