Suspect arrested after $80K in jewelry stolen from Gastonia Kohl’s

GASTONIA, N.C. — Police have charged a man for the Jan. 17 armed robbery of a Gastonia Kohl’s.

In late January, investigators released surveillance video as they searched for the person accused of stealing $80,000 worth of jewelry from the store. Police said the robbery happened on Jan. 17 around 5 p.m. at the Kohl’s store on East Franklin Boulevard.

Investigators said the suspect approached the jewelry counter and used a hammer to break the glass display case, which had several wedding rings and other accessories. According to police, the suspect then pepper-sprayed an employee who approached him.

Irene Coleman shops at the store and saw all the damage and crime scene tape afterward.

“I would not try to stop him,” Coleman said Thursday. “I would let him have what he wanted. That’s just me. You look after yourself, not the other person.”

Officers said the suspect stole about $80,000 in jewelry and left the store.

“I would step back because you don’t know how crazy people are and what they’re going to do,” customer Cynthia Dincher said.

On Monday, police said 31-year-old James Randall Willard of Bessemer City had been charged in the case.

No further information was released.

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