Tunnelling thieves steal £1.8m of gold jewellery

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Los Angeles store sees methodical thieves during half hour robbery.

Two masked theives have tunnelled their way into an LA jewellery store, walking away with more than $3 million (£1.84 million) worth of gold jewellery including wedding and engagement rings.

The robbery took place on February 19 at the Broadway Gold Centre in downtown Los Angeles. Despite frantic searching and leads, Los Angeles Police Department is still looking for the theives.

Images and CCTV recordings of the robbery show one thief carefully working through trays of jewellery, tossing selected pieces into a backpack. The way in which the pieces were selected has suggested that the robbery was pre-meditated and long in the planning.

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The robbery took place sometime between 7:30pm and 9:30pm, with CCTV footage showing a time of 9.13pm. The tunnels dug below the store are said to have consciously worked around structures and foundations below ground. 

LAPD detective Michael Mazzacano described the theives as ‘burrowing’ through two dry walls in the store next door to gain entry to the jewellery shop. Mazzacano would not give any details on how the robbers entered the next-door building but he did note: "This is the largest value theft I have dealt with. They were in the store for around half an hour, which is unusual for a burglary of this type."

Because of the method to the robbers actions, it has been suggested that they are experienced jewellery thieves. Due to their heavy diguising from hoodies and gloves, LAPD have had difficulty tracing fingerprints or CCTV images.

It has been suggested that the owners told investigating police that it typically takes three hours to display the jewellery in the morning and another three hours to return the pieces to the safe at end of the day. On the night of the burglary, the owners had left the merchandise in the cases to save time and effort with packing everything back in the safe.

CCTV footage has been released by the LAPD in which the pair can be seen using torches and weapons – possibly guns – to smash glass display cases and access the jewellery. At one point the thieves can be seen jumping into a corner of the jewellery store, possibly to knock out a security camera.

A video of the robbery can be watched online here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSR-lvbrGHQ
 

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