Cameras caught the moment a jewelry store in Beverly Hills lost millions in merchandise in a smash-and-grab robbery in broad daylight on Tuesday afternoon.
The incident took place at the Luxury Jewels of Beverly Hills at the corner of South Beverly Drive and Charleville Boulevard at about 2 p.m.
Authorities said that the five arrived in what they discovered was a stolen car but left it, fleeing in a different, unknown vehicle.
A group of five is seen on video with what police say appeared to be sledgehammers, obliterating the front window of the store. They then took off with several items.
Some of the crooks were spotted wearing hooded sweatshirts and sweatpants, while several wore surgical masks.
The store was left with glass covering the sidewalk below and a gaping hole in their front window.
A jewelry store in Beverly Hills was hit by smash-and-grab robbers Tuesday who remain at large
A group of five is seen on video with what police say appeared to be sledgehammers, obliterating the front window of the store
The store was left with glass covering the sidewalk below and a gaping hole in their front window
Luxury Jewels of Beverly Hills on the corner of South Beverly Drive and Charleville Boulevard
Peter Sedghi, the store’s owner, told ABC7LA that the merchandise taken was valued between $3-5million, with one necklace alone worth nearly $500,000.
Sedghi added that he thought he’d heard gunshots and came outside with his gun.
‘It literally sounded like gunshots, so I told my staff, I yelled out, ‘everyone down on the floor,” Sedghi said.
Employees pushed the store’s panic button and Sedghi waited until the noise stopped to head outside.
Wesley Aframian, who owns a business next door, told reporters he tried to stop the suspect before they got away.
‘I look outside, I see, there are five guys with sledgehammers, axes, hammers, they’re banging on the window,’ Aframian said. ‘And you know, we’re a jewelry store, they’re a jewelry store. We’re good friends with them. They’re very good people. I just reacted and tried to stop them.’
He did say that he managed to get a kick in on one of the robbers and was able to grab some of the watches they were trying to take back.
Larceny has become a statewide problem in California of late, with the trend having spread from San Francisco down to the LA area.
One of the robbers very clearly handling a sledgehammer as they attempt to rob the jewelry store
The robbers got away with somewhere between $3-5million in merchandise, according to the store owners
Owners clean up after the Beverly Hills robbery at Jewelry store while five men are at large that broke the window with sledgehammers on a double tempered glass
Peter Sedghi (left) the owner of Luxury Jewels of Beverly Hills, details the damage done to his store
The robbers came in a stolen SUV from Long Beach and then ran off in another vehicle before one was tripped to the ground and some of the stolen goods were recovered
Wesley Aframian, who owns a neighboring shop, said he was able to recover a couple of watches from the robbers in trying to stop them
Roving gangs of criminals have been carrying out brazen smash-and-grab robberies, targeting high-end stores like Louis Vuitton and Burberry, but also national chains like Walgreens and CVS.
Walgreens said last year that retail theft in San Francisco was five times the chain average and security costs were 46 times the chain average, reported San Francisco Chronicle.
According to the latest available crime data, grand larceny rates in California’s liberal bastion were up 19 per cent in late February, compared with the same period last year.
California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, has vowed to crack down on gangs of retail thieves, despite a controversial 2014 law – Proposition 47 – that barred prosecutors from charging suspected shoplifters accused of stealing less than $950 worth of merchandise with felonies.
Crime is up about eight percent from last year’s already high numbers in the city of Los Angeles through March 19, according to the city’s own statistics. Robberies are up four percent.
Luxury Jewels Of Beverly Hills lost expensive jewelry pieces which can run for thousands of dollars
Overall, the owners of the store said they lost anywhere between $3million and $5million in merchandise