A brazen trio of thieves raided a shopping mall jewelry store in Florida Tuesday, smashing into display cases with hammers and making off with $100,000 worth of luxury watches, according to police.
Video of the 1:30 p.m. incident shows an employee scurrying off as the masked suspects bashed their way into glass display cases with hammers, according to a Facebook post from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Officials said the smash-and-grabbers targeted high-end watches at the Diamond Galleria store inside the Citrus Park shopping mall.
The thieves entered through an employee entrance before raiding the jewelry outlet, according to police.
After the heist, the crew ran into a waiting Nissan Murano SUV getaway car.
The robbers remain at large, deputies said.
Smash-and-grab crimes have surged in recent years, with thieves targeting posh shopping districts across the country and forcing some merchants to only admit customers who ring a bell.
In a March letter to Congress, the National Federation of Retailers said theft exploded during the pandemic and continues to surge.
Retailers lost $700,000 for every $1 billion in sales as of 2020 — a hike of more than 50% over a five-year period, the organization said.