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Beverly Hills business owners and residents are on high alert after millions of dollars of high-end jewelry and watches were stolen during a brazen broad daylight smash-and-grab burglary where the suspects used sledgehammers on Tuesday.
Police said at least five masked suspects in black and gray hoodies broke through the thick, tempered glass window of Luxury Jewels of Beverly Hills located at the 200 block of South Beverly Drive at about 1:45 p.m.
The burglary was captured on video by several onlookers. In one video, a driver who passed by the jewelry store recorded the suspects grabbing items out of the smashed storefront window.
Peter Sedjhi, owner of the jewelry store, told The Post he was in his office when he heard what he initially thought were gunshots.
“I told my employee, ‘Get on the floor,’” Sedghi said. “As soon as I heard what I thought were gunshots finally stop, I grabbed my gun. First, I made sure my employees were OK. I then went outside, but they were already gone.”
Sedghi said it took the suspects eight or 10 times to hit the tempered glass with the sledgehammers before they were able to finally smash through it.
Sedghi estimates the burglars stole items worth between $3 to $5 million.
The suspects then ran off on foot in the alleyway behind the store and took off in a car.
“We sell high-end jewelry and watches so they took big diamonds, big necklaces, Rolexes, Patek Philippe … they knew exactly what to take,” Sedghi said. “Thank God, no one was hurt.”
Lt. Giovanni Trejo, Beverly Hills Police Department spokesman, told The Post the suspects arrived in front of the jewelry store in an SUV that was reported stolen out of the Long Beach, Calif. area.
The suspects took off in another vehicle, but investigators are still trying to determine the make and model of that second vehicle. There could be other suspects who were waiting in the getaway car, Trejo said.
“The identification of the suspects at this point is not clear, even their genders, for that matter,” Trejo said. “They appear to be males, but we have not determined that yet. Because it was so fast and quick, it’s going to take a little bit of time to make sure that we arrive to the proper conclusions.”
Since the crime occurred at a busy area and during the day, police are urging witnesses to come forward with videos or any information connected to this incident.
“You have all of these five individuals who have the nerve to run up to a location and commit this crime,” Trejo said. “It is concerning. People and residents should always be alert, especially when they’re out and about in the streets. You just never know what could happen, so you should always be alert for any danger that could compromise your safety. What I would like people to do — if they saw what occurred or become aware of any information connected to this crime– is to give us a call so we can follow up.”
Trejo said detectives are still reviewing video footage from inside the store.
Monday’s smash and grab incident has Beverly Hills and residents from neighboring cities, including nearby West Hollywood and the Fairfax District, on alert as robberies continue to spike.
Two reported gang members — Khai McGhee, 18, and Malik L. Powell, 21, were sentenced on Feb. 15 to a dozen years behind bars for holding a man at gun point and robbed him of his $500,000 Richard Mille wristwatch as the man was eating at the Beverly Hills celebrity hotspot, Il Pastaio, on March 4, 2021.
A third man– 41-year old Marquise Anthony Gardon, was also sentenced in connection. to the March 2021 armed robbery.
Last month, Beverly Hills Police arrested two men– Jeremy Hays and Ronald Christopher Mendez-Cantu, Jr, both 19, and a 15-year old suspect for a series of robberies in 2021 in the city and surrounding areas in Southern California. However, several suspects connected to those 2021 robberies are still on the run.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore on Tuesday released statistics that showed robberies over the past year has increased by 18 percent in the Los Angeles area.
Citywide robberies where firearms were used also saw an uptick by 221 incidents compared to 2021, or a 44 percent increase.
“Most concerning is that there has been an increase in the levels of violence used during these robberies and the frequency in which a firearm was used,” Moore said.