2 dead in botched robbery at Philly jewelry store

AP News
Posted: Oct 21, 2010 6:23 PM
2 dead in botched robbery at Philly jewelry store

A botched robbery at a jewelry store led to an exchange of gunfire Thursday that killed the longtime business owner and one of the would-be robbers, police said.

Authorities were searching for an alleged accomplice who fled empty-handed, and police planned to review surveillance video from inside the store that they believe captured the robbery on tape.

William Glatz, 67, the second-generation owner of the jewelry store bearing his family name, was shot in the chest and died at a hospital, police said. The alleged robber died inside Glatz Jewelers in northeast Philadelphia of gunshot wounds to the head and chest, police spokeswoman Jillian Russell said.

"There was an exchange of gunfire between the perpetrators and the store owner," police Capt. Michael McCarrick said.

People in the close-knit working-class neighborhood said Glatz's store was a fixture for as long as they could remember. Though the family moved to suburban Bucks County several years ago, Glatz enjoyed returning to the old neighborhood and his longtime customers, said Charles McKeown, a former neighbor whose family also ran a business down the street for decades.

"His father had the store before him. Everybody knew the family," said McKeown, who now lives in suburban Cheltenham Township. He came to the scene of the shooting after getting word of Glatz's death while he was attending a funeral.

"He was quiet, meek, mild. Just a gentleman," McKeown said. "He loved his job."

The jewelry store is located between a pharmacy and a beauty school on a bustling strip of storefronts topped by apartments. Neighbors said family-run shops like Glatz's are being replaced with dollar stores and other businesses with little connection to the community, and many residents believe crime is on the rise.

"This used to be a wonderful place for families," said Eileen McGannon, 44, a lifelong resident. "There were parades on the Fourth of July, kids would go trick-or-treating up and down the avenue at Halloween. All that has changed."

Police were working to identify the alleged robber slain in the store.

Investigators said they do not believe anything was taken in the robbery.