By Richard Winton
Source Los Angeles Times
Sledgehammer-wielding burglars smashed a Beverly Hills jeweler's glass windows and display cases and snatched up to $5 million in precious gems, designer watches and necklaces during a brazen daytime heist Tuesday.
Beverly Hills police said the five robbers who broke into Luxury Jewels of Beverly Hills — known for its high-end displays of diamonds, sapphires and other gems, as well as super-upscale timepieces — fled within minutes of the broad daylight burglary, while the store was surrounded by Beverly Hills police cars.
Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook said that the burglars hid their features with hoodies and masks and that, so far, the department does not have a description of them.
According to Beverly Hills Police Lt. Giovanni Trejo, the department received multiple calls of a burglary in progress at 1:45 p.m.
A bystander standing across the street caught part of the burglary as the assailants continued to smash the glass, grabbing as much as they could before fleeing north on the 200 block of South Beverly Drive. The men, dressed in hoodies and masks, could be seen dashing down the sidewalk and weaving through cars stopped on the street as shoppers watched in amazement.
The thieves abandoned the vehicle they arrived in near the store and escaped in a second vehicle. An owner of the store told KNBC that the burglars made off with as much as $5 million in merchandise.
With the windows visibly trashed and pristine display cases shattered, Beverly Hills police detectives and forensic technicians picked through the scene Tuesday afternoon, searching for clues to the burglars' identities.
Beverly Hills police are examining a network of street cameras, both public and private, that capture vehicle movements within the upscale community.
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