Vineland police surrounded a North Delsea Drive jewelry story for several hours after two armed men broke inside Friday evening and tried to rob one of the store's owners as he was closing up.
A standoff ensued at Dondero Diamonds and Fine Jewelry after police believed one of the men had hidden in the store. The incident began early Friday evening, ending quietly a little before 11 p.m. There was no word of arrest from police.
A family member said the robbery victim was Kevin Kleiner, co-owner of the store with his brother Ken Dondero.
The jewelry store was closed by 7 p.m., and the employees had gone home, except for Kleiner, who was the last to leave and was setting the alarm and walking out the door when two men forced him back in at gunpoint, said Jesse Dondero, Kevin's nephew.
Dondero, whose father, Ken, is the other owner, was not at the store but said he spoke to his uncle and to police at the scene, who told him the following:
The men told Kleiner to shut off the alarm, but in doing so, a silent alarm was triggered.
Unaware of the triggered alarm, the two men brought the owner to the safe and asked him to open it up. The owner stalled the robbers, who began getting agitated.
"They were in the process of tying him up. He wasn't cooperating, and they were getting aggravated," Dondero said.
Within minutes of the alarm triggering, a police officer arrived, entering through the back door and getting Kleiner to safety.
One of the men escaped through the back door, the other out the front door.
Police began a search and established a large perimiter, sending a robot to ensure no one was in the building.
Afterward, Ken Dondero thanked police for their quick action.
"They did us a huge favor," he said. "My partner had a couple guns pointed at him."
Copyright 2012 - The Press of Atlantic City, Pleasantville, N.J.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service