NEW YORK - A crew of brazen jewel thieves said to be responsible for a string of heists across New York City used a sledgehammer to smash the front window of a Bronx jewelry store before making off with the valuables, police said.
The man swings a sledgehammer several times to bash a hole in the plate glass window and then he and another man grab as much jewelry as they can before the metal shutter gate lowers, the video shows.
Yailin Reyes was working inside MNP Jewelers when it happened.
"All of a sudden, we heard the boom and I looked at the window," she said. "He could've gotten in here and harmed us but thankfully nothing else happened."
Surveillance video from inside the store shows how startled she and her coworkers were. But Reyes quickly thought to lower the gate.
The thieves managed to steal 10 gold chains and five gold pendants, valued at about $20,000, and then escaped in a black BMW 5-series four-door sedan, police said.
Then on Monday at around 3 p.m., six thieves hit Dorian's Jewelry on Fifth Avenue near 55th Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, police said. The men used sledgehammers and a pickax to smash through the store's front window and then stole more $180,000 in gold jewelry, police said. They escaped in a black Honda Accord and a BMW sedan similar to the one in the Pelham Parkway robbery.
The NYPD said these two brazen robberies are among 18 so far in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens that started on Feb. 25 and could be the work of the same crew. In some cases, they escape from the scene in a black BMW. Police said a blue four-door sedan is also connected.
Police describe the thieves as men in their 20s and 30s. To date, they have stolen nearly $250,000 in jewelry, the NYPD said.
Anyone with information about these robberies can contact the NYPD's Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, or on Twitter @NYPDTips.
Police say all calls are confidential.