Los Angeles. Los Angeles detectives are investigating a smash-and-grab robbery at a Chinatown jewelry store, Chong Hing Jewelry, in which five Black men smashed display counters and grabbed over $350,000 in high-end watches.
The robbery occurred just before 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 15, 2011, in the 900 block of North Hill Street. The suspects used pepper spray to stun the employees as the men smashed glass cases with hammers. One suspect disarmed a security guard, taking his .45 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun.
Downtown Los Angeles had seen a rash of smash-and-grab robberies over a two month period in June and July, but after making several arrests, no more robberies had occurred since July 22.
“It appears the word got out that the Jewelry District was too hot, so now the crews have hit a store in Chinatown,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Central Detective Division. “In this case, their MO was a little different in that they were after expensive watches, not gold chains.”
The suspects drove away in a black car, described as either a KIA or a Toyota Tercel, with paper plates.
All five suspects were Black men who worn some kind of mask over their faces or red hooded sweat shirts that shielded their faces from view. Detectives are working with the business to recover video of the robbery.
Pawnshops and jewelry stores should be on the lookout for persons trying to sell or pawn new Omega and TAG Heuer watches.
Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call Central Detectives at 213-972-1251. Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Online tips may be placed at www.LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.