By Michelle Graff
michelle.graff@nationaljeweler.com
New York--Three men robbed Tourneau’s Madison Avenue store on Tuesday afternoon in an armed smash-and-grab incident that resulted in the theft of several Rolex watches.

According to a report by CBS New York, at around 1 p.m. on Tuesday, the three men walked into the store in New York City and, upon entering, one fired a shot into the ground while the other two began smashing the display cases and grabbing the Rolex watches, stuffing them into a bag.

After they had taken the goods, the suspect with the gun then allegedly fired a shot at the direction of one of the store employees, but police told local news that nobody was hit.

The three then fled on foot but nearby plain clothes police officers pursued them on foot. They caught up to one of them, who had a bag with stolen merchandise on him, just blocks away. The report said that suspect was in custody late Tuesday afternoon, while the other two were still at large

It was not yet clear at press time the total value of the merchandise that the thieves took from the store.

The New York Police Department could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Jewelers’ Security Alliance President John Kennedy said that Tuesday’s incident was the first in a long time where smash-and-grab robbers who were going after high-end watches fired their guns while the crime was taking place. It’s also notable that it occurred in such a high-end, busy part of New York City.

The JSA’s annual report for 2014 showed that while overall jewelry crime continued to decrease last year, there was a spike in smash-and grab robberies reported to the organization--they rose 77 percent year-over-year, from 62 to 110.

Many of those are the work of two large and likely unrelated gangs, one based in Detroit and the other in California (arrests have been made in both cases), though Kennedy noted that it doesn’t appear this Tourneau incident involves either of those, but rather is the work of a separate gang.



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