Police: Jeweler's killer a serial robber and jail escapee

Suspect sought

The escaped prison inmate who got in a shootout with a Lawndale jeweler yesterday, leaving both dead, was a serial armed robber and repeat offender who police believe committed a similar robbery less than a week after he broke out of a city jail earlier this month, police said this morning.

Kevin Turner, 22, of Lehigh Avenue near Front Street in Fairhill, had 13 prior arrests, most for narcotics offenses, police Dep. Commissioner William Blackburn said at a morning news conference.

Six days after he escaped the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility on Oct. 12, he and other suspects committed a similar robbery on Oct. 18 at a gold business on Cottman Avenue at Hanford Street, Blackburn said. Prison officials and city detectives have refused to release details on how they believe Turner was able to escape the city prison, saying the matter remains under investigation.

Yesterday, Turner and an accomplice entered the William Glatz Jewelers on Rising Sun Avenue at Passmore Street and announced a robbery. A shootout soon ensued between four people: the two robbers and Glatz and an armed jewelry salesman. Turner, shot twice, died at the scene. Glatz, 67, of Holland, was shot once in the stomach and died within the hour at the Albert Einstein Medical Center. It's unclear whether the second suspect, who fled on foot, was injured. The salesman was uninjured.

This morning, Blackburn said Turner had been in the Curran-Fromhold facility for a similar scheme, in which police on March 15 discovered hidden guns, duct tape, masks, gloves, a Domino’s Pizza hat and shirt in Turner’s car moments after an off-duty officer awaiting his food order at Domino's overheard Turner talking with friends about a “job” the officer suspected was a planned robbery.

Police recovered three weapons at the jewelry store yesterday, Blackburn said. They're still seeking the second suspect, who fled up Passmore Street. He’s described as a black man, about 5-foot-8, in his early 20s, who wore dark clothing and had a revolver during yesterday’s incident. Tipsters can call homicide detectives at (215) 686-3334 or -3335.

Read the story that appeared in today's Daily News here.