NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Three men disguised as asbestos removers held up a jewelry store in Brooklyn and pistol whipped the owner, police sources say.

The men walked into Court Jewelers on Court Street around 5:20 p.m. Thursday.

As CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported, the courthouse is just a few hundred feet away, but that didn’t deter the thieves.

“People don’t expect it to happen in this area. They say OK we’re around the courts, we’re around the DA, we’re around the cops, the judges… and then, boom,” Canarsie resident Paris Scurry said.

One stood lookout, while the other two confronted the 67-year-old owner, police sources said. One of the men pistol whipped the worker and two others took gold, jewelry and cash.

They made off with approximately $500,000 in jewels and cash.

“I can’t believe it. I live around the corner. I mean, it’s a safe neighborhood,” resident Mary Matuszak said. “It’s also the middle of prime time when people are coming home from work.”

“I just saw a guy who was bloody running this way,” one witness said.

The owner was taken to New York Methodist Hospital where he was treated for a head injury. At last check, he was listed in fair condition.

Photos from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle show the victim on a stretcher covered in blood.

Jewels in hand, police say the men ran toward the subway, ditching their disguises as they went, and escaped on a train.

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