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Employee of "Harold the Jewellery Buyer" tries to kill Jack Berkovits of Omni Jewel

Discussion in 'TRIBE Main Forum' started by coleridge, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. coleridge

    coleridge TRIBE Member

    Crazyness!

    Alleged murder plot rocks cash-for-gold rivalry - The Globe and Mail

    Toronto Police have charged a 71-year-old woman in connection with a bizarre plot to put an alleged hit on a prominent jeweller.

    The cast of characters is as unlikely as could be imagined, including, of course, the alleged elderly mastermind herself, two Orthodox Jews and an ex-mixed martial arts fighter, hit man with a conscience, who purportedly confessed all to the intended target and subsequently gave police a lengthy videotaped statement.

    The fantastic plot allegedly revolves around two rivals in the increasingly cutthroat and lucrative “cash-for-gold” business where, with gold hovering at $1,200 per Troy ounce, potential profits are so huge that even the venerable Canadian jewellery retailer Birks last year entered the business with its web-only Birks Gold Exchange.

    Well-known Toronto jeweller Jack Berkovits, of Omni Jewelcrafters, was the alleged intended target.

    The 58-year-old Mr. Berkovits owns a chain of stores in Toronto and environs and got into the cash-for-gold end in a big way only, his website says, to provide an alternative to shady operators when the recent economic downturn saw customers buying less high-end jewellery, but the cash-for-gold end of the market simultaneously exploded.

    The cash-for-gold business is considered part of the pawn shop business, and is certainly a growth niche. For instance, the law requires operators to hold onto the jewellery people sell for two weeks, ostensibly for police to determine if it is stolen.

    But in practical terms, insiders say, police rarely visit.

    The other man, Harold (famously known in his television commercials as Harold the Jewellery Buyer) Gerstel, employs the woman who is now facing five serious offences and allegedly also employed the hit man, though Mr. Gerstel denies that.

    Mr. Gerstel himself isn’t charged or alleged to have been involved in the plot.

    It is his long-time employee, Maria Konstan, who is charged with threatening damage (to Mr. Berkovits’s Jewels and Java main location on Bathurst Street, across the street from Mr. Gerstel’s store), threatening bodily harm, counselling to commit an indictable offence (assault bodily harm), threatening death and counselling to commit an indictable offence (murder).

    The alleged intended victim of all the other offences but the property offence was Mr. Berkovits.

    The purported hit man was an Iranian-born tae kwon do champion and former extreme fighter whom a Toronto Police source has described as Mr. Gerstel’s security head and body guard

    “He’s not an employee,” Mr. Gerstel told The Globe and Mail Wednesday during a prickly interview at his store, during which he paced frequently to the front windows that offer a view of Mr. Berkovits’s main location. “He never was.”

    “That is an absolute lie,” the ex-fighter told The Globe in a telephone interview. “What was I doing for six hours a day in his store – standing there?” He said he had worked for Mr. Gerstel, collecting debts though never hurting anyone, since 1998.

    Told that police described the 32-year-old man as an employee, Mr. Gerstel snapped, “Who do you think would know?” He certainly seemed to know him, however, dismissively saying of him, “it’s one person’s word, who’s a wrestler and ultimate fighter. But it has to go through the process.”

    The man’s fame in the world of ultimate fighting would hardly get him known. He appears to have had only one match as a professional, which he lost in a minute, 23 seconds to a former decorated U.S. Marine.

    Mr. Gerstel dismissed the alleged plot as “a frame up. It’s not to be believed. All I can say is that it has no merit, no basis, it’s a total frame-up.”

    Asked who was behind the frame-up, Mr. Gerstel said, “I know you want a story, but nothing happened. It’s absurd. It has no merit. I’m not really involved, she [Mrs. Konstan] is simply an employee.”

    Mrs. Konstan wasn’t at the store Wednesday and couldn’t be reached at her North York home.

    Mr. Gerstel repeatedly described the purported plot as unbelievable, calling it “kind of bizarre” and “ridiculous”.

    But Mr. Berkovits, The Globe has learned, was sufficiently shaken up by his encounter with the ex-fighter – during which the man allegedly told him “I’ve been hired to kill you” and then reassured him, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to” – that he went directly to the 13 Division station near his main store after their meeting about two weeks ago.

    The two met, at the ex-fighter’s request, at the King David Pizza, which is just up the street from both stores, with the man apparently telling Mr. Berkovits he was Mr. Gerstel’s “enforcer”.

    At the police station, Murphy’s Law being what it is, the station was both busy and short-staffed and Mr. Berkovits was left cooling his heels. After waiting two hours, he left, then came back later the same day, waited again, leaving his name and address and the details of his complaint when he finally departed for home.

    That evening about midnight, officers were pounding urgently on his door. They left after taking a statement.

    The ex-fighter, about the same time or shortly after, also had gone to Toronto Police to make a clean breast of it.

    Within days, Mrs. Konstan was arrested and charged. She was released on bail, and put on a restraining order keeping her 10 metres away from Mr. Berkovits’s store (a more sweeping order apparently would have precluded her seeing her doctor, whose office is just up the street).

    Police believe the catalyst for the alleged plot may have been Mr. Berkovits recently opening a new location, dedicated to cash-for-gold, a little further north on Bathurst Street.

    Unbeknownst to him. Mr. Gerstel had leased new quarters four doors down in the same strip plaza from Mr. Berkovits’s Easy Cash for Gold location.

    But the dispute – police consider that Mr. Gerstel was “the regular aggressor”– has been simmering since Mr. Berkovits first hung up his “cash-for-gold” sign in May of 2009.

    Until then, the two stores had catered to different clientele, Mr. Berkovits to high-end buyers looking for good prices, Mr. Gerstel to impecunious, sometimes desperate, folk looking for fast cash.

    Even today, the two stores reflect those differences. Omni’s Jewels and Java location, for instance, is divided into a restaurant and store, with friendly staff greeting customers.

    To even enter Mr. Gerstel’s store, one has to be buzzed in, and there is no actual jewellery on display, only pictures – and even these are behind bars.
     
  2. R4V4G3D_SKU11S

    R4V4G3D_SKU11S TRIBE Member

    Jack Berkovitz is so damn annoying on the FAN590 (second only to Saul Korman), but does he deserve to die for this?
     
  3. coleridge

    coleridge TRIBE Member

    Agree on Saul Korman. I actually change the channel when he comes on. I wish the radio stations knew that he's actually turning away listeners.
     
  4. glych t.anomaly

    glych t.anomaly TRIBE Member

    oh man, i want Harold the Jewelery Buyer to Fight Russell Oliver, in a Anchor Man scenario type throw down, and then have Jack Berkovitz come in during the middle of it.

    [jai]
     
  5. R4V4G3D_SKU11S

    R4V4G3D_SKU11S TRIBE Member

    The worst is when he files his reports from the Carribean.
     
  6. catilyst

    catilyst TRIBE Member

    Same here - it's like an automatic reaction for me to change the channel.
     
  7. alexd

    alexd Administrator Staff Member

    Killing each other off for gold

    (The Canadian Press)

    Toronto jeweller Jack Berkovits says when he was first told a rival in the cash-for-gold business allegedly hired someone to kill him, he thought it was a joke.

    Berkovits, the owner of Omni Jewelcrafters, says two weeks ago a man posing as a customer told him he had been hired to kill him, but he couldn't do it after meeting Berkovits.

    Berkovits went to police and a 71-year-old employee of competitor the Jewellery Buyer has since been charged.

    Maria Konstan faces five charges and her case is due to return to court on Aug. 20.

    Berkovits says competition between his store and the Jewellery Buyer across the street has become heated in recent months.

    Harold Gerstel, also known from his pervasive commercials as Harold The Jewellery Buyer, has not been charged in the case and did not immediately return a request for comment.
     
  8. JamesM

    JamesM TRIBE Member

    aaahhhhh! I wonder if it was the woman who says "now, i'm ready to shop!"
     
  9. ndrwrld

    ndrwrld TRIBE Member

    this looks familiar....
     
  10. R4V4G3D_SKU11S

    R4V4G3D_SKU11S TRIBE Member

    timelined on your own board
     
  11. JamesM

    JamesM TRIBE Member

    Globe's article:
    Toronto Police have charged a 71-year-old woman in connection with a bizarre plot to put an alleged hit on a prominent jeweller.

    The cast of characters is as unlikely as could be imagined, including, of course, the alleged elderly mastermind herself, two Orthodox Jews and an ex-mixed martial arts fighter, hit man with a conscience, who purportedly confessed all to the intended target and subsequently gave police a lengthy videotaped statement.

    The fantastic plot allegedly revolves around two rivals in the increasingly cutthroat and lucrative “cash-for-gold” business where, with gold hovering at $1,200 per Troy ounce, potential profits are so huge that even the venerable Canadian jewellery retailer Birks last year entered the business with its web-only Birks Gold Exchange.

    Well-known Toronto jeweller Jack Berkovits, of Omni Jewelcrafters, was the alleged intended target.

    The 58-year-old Mr. Berkovits owns a chain of stores in Toronto and environs and got into the cash-for-gold end in a big way only, his website says, to provide an alternative to shady operators when the recent economic downturn saw customers buying less high-end jewellery, but the cash-for-gold end of the market simultaneously exploded.

    The cash-for-gold business is considered part of the pawn shop business, and is certainly a growth niche. For instance, the law requires operators to hold onto the jewellery people sell for two weeks, ostensibly for police to determine if it is stolen.

    But in practical terms, insiders say, police rarely visit.

    The other man, Harold (famously known in his television commercials as Harold the Jewellery Buyer) Gerstel, employs the woman who is now facing five serious offences and allegedly also employed the hit man, though Mr. Gerstel denies that.

    Mr. Gerstel himself isn’t charged or alleged to have been involved in the plot.

    It is his long-time employee, Maria Konstan, who is charged with threatening damage (to Mr. Berkovits’s Jewels and Java main location on Bathurst Street, across the street from Mr. Gerstel’s store), threatening bodily harm, counselling to commit an indictable offence (assault bodily harm), threatening death and counselling to commit an indictable offence (murder).

    The alleged intended victim of all the other offences but the property offence was Mr. Berkovits.

    The purported hit man was an Iranian-born tae kwon do champion and former extreme fighter whom a Toronto Police source has described as Mr. Gerstel’s security head and body guard

    “He’s not an employee,” Mr. Gerstel told The Globe and Mail Wednesday during a prickly interview at his store, during which he paced frequently to the front windows that offer a view of Mr. Berkovits’s main location. “He never was.”

    “That is an absolute lie,” the ex-fighter told The Globe in a telephone interview. “What was I doing for six hours a day in his store – standing there?” He said he had worked for Mr. Gerstel, collecting debts though never hurting anyone, since 1998.

    Told that police described the 32-year-old man as an employee, Mr. Gerstel snapped, “Who do you think would know?” He certainly seemed to know him, however, dismissively saying of him, “it’s one person’s word, who’s a wrestler and ultimate fighter. But it has to go through the process.”

    The man’s fame in the world of ultimate fighting would hardly get him known. He appears to have had only one match as a professional, which he lost in a minute, 23 seconds to a former decorated U.S. Marine.

    Mr. Gerstel dismissed the alleged plot as “a frame up. It’s not to be believed. All I can say is that it has no merit, no basis, it’s a total frame-up.”

    Asked who was behind the frame-up, Mr. Gerstel said, “I know you want a story, but nothing happened. It’s absurd. It has no merit. I’m not really involved, she [Mrs. Konstan] is simply an employee.”

    Mrs. Konstan wasn’t at the store Wednesday and couldn’t be reached at her North York home.

    Mr. Gerstel repeatedly described the purported plot as unbelievable, calling it “kind of bizarre” and “ridiculous”.

    But Mr. Berkovits, The Globe has learned, was sufficiently shaken up by his encounter with the ex-fighter – during which the man allegedly told him “I’ve been hired to kill you” and then reassured him, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to” – that he went directly to the 13 Division station near his main store after their meeting about two weeks ago.

    The two met, at the ex-fighter’s request, at the King David Pizza, which is just up the street from both stores, with the man apparently telling Mr. Berkovits he was Mr. Gerstel’s “enforcer”.

    At the police station, Murphy’s Law being what it is, the station was both busy and short-staffed and Mr. Berkovits was left cooling his heels. After waiting two hours, he left, then came back later the same day, waited again, leaving his name and address and the details of his complaint when he finally departed for home.

    That evening about midnight, officers were pounding urgently on his door. They left after taking a statement.

    The ex-fighter, about the same time or shortly after, also had gone to Toronto Police to make a clean breast of it.

    Within days, Mrs. Konstan was arrested and charged. She was released on bail, and put on a restraining order keeping her 10 metres away from Mr. Berkovits’s store (a more sweeping order apparently would have precluded her seeing her doctor, whose office is just up the street).

    Police believe the catalyst for the alleged plot may have been Mr. Berkovits recently opening a new location, dedicated to cash-for-gold, a little further north on Bathurst Street.

    Unbeknownst to him. Mr. Gerstel had leased new quarters four doors down in the same strip plaza from Mr. Berkovits’s Easy Cash for Gold location.

    But the dispute – police consider that Mr. Gerstel was “the regular aggressor”– has been simmering since Mr. Berkovits first hung up his “cash-for-gold” sign in May of 2009.

    Until then, the two stores had catered to different clientele, Mr. Berkovits to high-end buyers looking for good prices, Mr. Gerstel to impecunious, sometimes desperate, folk looking for fast cash.

    Even today, the two stores reflect those differences. Omni’s Jewels and Java location, for instance, is divided into a restaurant and store, with friendly staff greeting customers.

    To even enter Mr. Gerstel’s store, one has to be buzzed in, and there is no actual jewellery on display, only pictures – and even these are behind bars.
     
  12. ndrwrld

    ndrwrld TRIBE Member

    srsly !
     
  13. ndrwrld

    ndrwrld TRIBE Member

    bump.
     
  14. JamesM

    JamesM TRIBE Member

    no way!!! full double rainbow!!


    what does it mean?
     
  15. DJ Vuvu Zela

    DJ Vuvu Zela TRIBE Member

    "Jews Gone Wild!"
     
  16. R4V4G3D_SKU11S

    R4V4G3D_SKU11S TRIBE Member

    double complete rainbow
     
  17. Lil'Timmy

    Lil'Timmy TRIBE Promoter

    Jack is a client of ours at my radio station. He came in on tuesday looking like he'd seen a ghost. I ask him what's up, he says a hitman was hired to kill him by a rival. I laughed.

    Now I feel kinda stupid.
     
  18. Sal De Ban

    Sal De Ban TRIBE Member

    what nice, easy going people. man what a wonderful contribution to the world they are. what a breeze of fresh air. fuck.
     
  19. KickIT

    KickIT TRIBE Member

    Funny how a Jew hires an Iranian (possibly muslim) to kill another Jew.
     
  20. Zorro

    Zorro TRIBE Member

    Oh man I want Oliver to get in this and then let JEWelry wars begin.

    They could make a mini series about it all and show it on the shopping channel.
     
  21. Big Harv

    Big Harv TRIBE Member

    The Hebrew Hammer was allegedly the first choice of hitman.
     
  22. KodiaK

    KodiaK TRIBE Member

    640am?
     
  23. ndrwrld

    ndrwrld TRIBE Member

    Yidlive ?
     
  24. ndrwrld

    ndrwrld TRIBE Member

    Harold The Jewellery Buyer's place goes up in flames on Glencairn.
    [​IMG]
     
  25. JamesM

    JamesM TRIBE Member

    Drove by it today... crazey!
     

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