NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The search continues for four men who allegedly stole hundreds of thousands in fine jewelry, gold and cash from a Brooklyn store before taking off down the street and disappearing into the subway system.
Police said three suspects disguised as construction workers ransacked Court Jewelers on Court Street around 5:30 p.m. Thursday while a fourth man stood watch outside holding a sign that read “DANGER ASBESTOS MEN AT WORK,” CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported.
Surveillance video obtained by CBS2 shows three men in bright yellow and orange construction gear sprinting down Court Street. The video also shows the 67-year-old store owner, Jack Shammas, chasing the men, but police say the thieves then jumped the turnstile inside the Borough Hall subway station and escaped on a northbound train.
“Did anyone try to go after him or stop him?” Bauman asked.
“No, after 5 minutes come police,” vendor Farouk Ayach said.
“The guy just came back, went down stairs in the subway,” another witness, Arda Diotan, said. “It was unbelievable, his face was unbelievable. And then I was looking at the guys, but as soon as they run in the subway and went in the other direction, I can’t do nothing.”
Photos from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle show the owner on a stretcher bleeding from his head where police said the robbers pistol whipped him before tying him up and taking about $750,000 in gold, cash and jewelry, Bauman reported.
“He was coming back with blood on his head, running down,” neighbor Sita Kowah said.
“It’s really horrible and in this neighborhood I would never think that something like this would happen. I’m just shocked,” said vendor Devika Ramakhan.
Sources said the jewelry store owner had to buzz the suspects in, Bauman reported.
“He has a security system, but they probably know he works alone. I mean, every so often there’s a woman working with him, but he will let anyone in,” one customer said.
He is now recovering from his injuries while detectives review surveillance video, hoping to track down the suspects. Sources tell CBS2 he’s expected to return home from the hospital Friday night.
“He’s pretty strong and has some guts, so he runs after him,” Kowah said.
The jewelry store was closed for business Friday. Rings could be seen scattered and a fake asbestos suit was left tossed on the ground.