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GBI releases sketch of jewel thief
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The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has released a sketch of a woman wanted in connection with the robbery of Zales Jewelry store in Dawsonville in August and stores in Florida and South Carolina.

We used a GBI sketch artist to get a composite drawing so we could get something out to the public, Dawson County Sheriffs Office Capt. Tony Wooten said. Theres a strong similarity between her and video surveillance of at least one of the other robberies.

The similarities include zip-tying employees and brandishing a gun before taking off with merchandise.

In Dawsonville, Zales was targeted the morning of Aug. 5, and the female robber made off with an estimated $13,000 of merchandise after zip-tying two employees. In that situation, she hit a case that had a lot of costume jewelry in it, Wooten said.

No one was seriously injured, authorities said.

A witness was able to describe the robber and helped GBI develop a sketch.

The thief is being described as having a masculine build.

It appears she was acting alone, but Wooten said he cannot rule out whether she had help.

In Florida, one week later, $400,000 in merchandise was heisted from a Reeds store in Panama City Beach, on Floridas Gulf Coast.

According to a statement from Capt. Robert Clarkson of the Panama City Beach Police Department, the thief was armed with a small firearm, zip-tied two female employees and ordered them into the restroom.

And last week, a Jared store was hit in Bluffton, South Carolina, according to Capt. Bob Bromage of the Beaufort County Sheriffs Office.

In that instance, the robber brandished a black handgun and forced employees to the back of the store where she zip-tied them.

The female then fled the store and is believed to have left in a vehicle, although this was not observed by the employees, Bromage said.

Agencies in all three states and the FBI are working together.

All three agencies are coordinating our efforts, including Dawsonville, Panama City and Bluffton, Bromage told the Dawson News & Advertiser Monday. The choice of targets, the choice of weapon, and the way employees were treated were strikingly similar.