Man shot in Anthem jewelry store robbery: Suspects arrested in California after police chase
PHOENIX - An armed robbery in a jewelry store ended with a victim being shot at a north Phoenix strip mall, says the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office on July 12, and days later, 2 suspects were arrested in California.
The incident happened near Interstate 17 and Anthem Way around 6 p.m. in the Phoenix community of Anthem. Deputies responded to the store and found a person who had been shot. The victim was rushed to the hospital with serious injuries, but is now in stable condition, MCSO said.
The suspects were found and arrested on July 16 at 1 a.m. by officers with the Huntington Beach Police Department after a car chase.
"It was later determined by MCSO Detectives that the suspects arrested matched the same description as the suspects involved in the armed robbery at the jewelry store in Anthem …" MCSO said in a news release.
They are 18-year-old Helen Simmons and 22-year-old Mathew Jones. Jones is being held on a million dollar bond and Simmons is being held on a half million dollar bond – both on charges related to the robbery.
An eyewitness who saw the suspects enter Andrew Z Diamonds and Fine Jewelry was dining on the patio of a nearby restaurant. She describes seeing two armed suspects with motorcycle helmets on, wearing all black from head to toe.
She says she heard about 5 to 6 gunshots, then the suspects ran to the back of the strip mall and got away.
According to a person who knows the owners, they say a male employee inside the store was shot several times and underwent surgery not long after. MCSO says the victim is in stable condition.
Anthem residents, like John Madsen, say violent crimes like this rarely ever happen in their community.
"You don’t think this would happen in Anthem. Maybe in a crummier section, but not in this area. This is beautiful. This shouldn’t happen here," he said.
Surveillance video from a nearby business shows the suspects leaving on a motorcycle. A nearby restaurant went into lockdown after people heard the gunshots.
"It was just a typical night and then there were a few guests in the patio that I saw stand up abruptly, and they were on their phones and I saw running, and then commotion kind of started. Once we heard what happened, we locked the doors and kept everybody safe inside, made sure all back doors and everything was safe," says restaurant manager, Shelly Prock. "I've worked here about three years, so I’ve never heard of anything crazy like that."
Madsen says maybe more security is needed from now on.
"It's good to know they are OK, so far. Hope they make it and beef up security," he said.
MCSO and the FBI Phoenix Field Office offered a $10,000 reward for information that lead to the arrest and conviction of the two suspects.
Anthem community rallies to support victim
Thousands of cars lined up throughout the day in Anthem to raise money for the gunshot victim with a car wash fundraiser.
According to Joseph Alvarez, president of the Anthem Rotary Club, the victim is slowly recovering,
"He's got a long road to go, but he did a heroic act and saved some lives probably," said Alvarez.
The hope was that this car wash, along with T-shirt sales, would raise about $2,500 for the man's family - but they've far surpassed that.
"Probably close to 15 to 20 thousand dollars today for the victim's family," said Alvarez. "Everything was donated, shirts were donated."
Volunteers say it's this community support that shows just how strong and close-knit Anthem is.
"I know it's our motto, but it really does show how much our community can come together for a cause," said resident Olivia Russell.
"I get chills, tears in my eyes it's so great to live here in Anthem," Alvarez said. "You can count on the community to step up."
18-year-old Helen Simmons
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