Gunmen Disappear After Fashion Valley Jewelry Heist

Suspects raced a car down pedestrian walkway inside mall during robbery

By Danya Bacchus, Joe Young and Lauren Steussy
|  Saturday, Sep 17, 2011  |  Updated 9:18 AM PDT
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Gunmen Pull Jewelry Heist at Fashion Valley

NBCSanDiego

The scene outside of Fashion Valley Mall after the robbery on Friday.

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Three Men Vanish After Jewelry Heist

Police are searching for the suspects who they said robbed the Ben Bridge jewelry store in Fashion Valley Friday, in a heist that played out like a Hollywood script.

Gunmen Pull Jewelry Heist at Fashion Valley

Gunmen robbed a Ben Bridge jewelry store in Fashion Valley Mall Friday morning.
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On Saturday, police were still searching for the men witnesses say robbed a Ben Bridge jewelry store in a matter of minutes Friday morning.

Many people are still shocked at how the suspects were able to pull off the crime, the plot of which played out like a Hollywood script.

The brazen heist happened at the mall, located at 7007 Friars Rd, just after 11 a.m. when witnesses said the bandits steered a white car through shoppers, as they raced down a pedestrian walkway.

The suspects were described as wearing black masks, black hoodies and dark gloves during the robbery. Two suspects were wearing blue jeans and one was wearing dark pants.

"I saw guys with ski masks and a pistol and decided not to stick around and watch,” said Ben Price, an employee at Currency Exchange.

As the vehicle stopped in front of Ben Bridge, two men got out of the car.

The robbers began ransacking the store, smashing display cases, and grabbing watches and jewelry. One witness on the scene said the suspects told everyone inside to get down as they walked in.

On Friday, authorities said they were reviewing surveillance video.

After taking an unknown amount of items, the suspects got back into the vehicle and fled the store.

“When I saw them get back inside the car I kind of ran out just to see where they were going and they had drove away,” said Daniel Rivas, an employee at Cache.

As the suspects started to flee the store, they didn't turn the car around. They simply put the car into reverse and raced back down the walkway, ramming signs and tearing off a door panel, police said.

”Pretty good drivers if they were able to get all the way to the back on reverse,” said Rivas.

Many witnesses said they heard gunfire at the mall between Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, but the sound was just that of a car backfiring, police said.

Morgan Jones Simpson said she was shopping at Nordstrom when the incident occurred.

"It was very scary," Simpson said on Facebook. "People running as fast as they could to get out of there."

The suspects made their way through the mall before driving to a parking area at the Wells Fargo bank across the street, police said.

The stolen car used in the robbery, an older model white 4-door Toyota Camry, was later found at the bank.

Soon, San Diego Police officers were at the bank, standing guard, with guns drawn, outside of the parking garage.

Officers moved in slowly, searching cars and other areas for the men. However, they wouldn't find the suspects.

Somehow the three men were able to get away after the heist and haven't been seen since.

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