Violent jewelry heist in SF under investigation

May 1, 2009 7:36:17 PM PDT
San Francisco police are warning jewelry stores about thieves who ripped off a high-end Union Square dealer in a violent robbery. Friday, police released a store surveillance tape, hoping someone will identify the culprits.

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The heist happened at the Judith Ripka Jewelry Store near Union Square on Thursday of last week.

Sergeant Shaughn Ryan of the San Francisco Police Department Robbery Investigations Unit showed ABC7 the security video. He hopes someone will be able to identify the robbers.

On April 17, 2009, two of the robbers cased the store.

"They look in, take a good look, 'let's go inside,' so he walks in; they have to be buzzed in," Ryan said.

The woman has blonde highlights and hair extensions.

"They engage one of the salespersons as if they're going to buy jewelry," Ryan said.

In the video, the man walks around, casing the store for alarms and cameras.

The following week, on April 23, 2009, the woman comes back at about 5:30 p.m. As she talks to the two female sales clerks, two male accomplices enter the store. The female robber follows one of the employees into the back room. The other employee is confronted by the two men.

"The two males go into action; notice the gentleman with the white jacket with the gun, the suspect is pulling her [one of the employees] by her ponytail and dragging her into the back office," Ryan said.

In the back office, the female robber is grappling with the other sales clerk.

"She attacks the salesperson, she's joined by her two accomplices, they're dragging the other salesperson," Ryan said.

The robbers tie up the two employees and begin ransacking the store. They left with $400,000 in jewelry.

Ryan wants other jewelers to be on the alert. If the robbers strike again, he hopes the video will help store owners recognize when their stores are being cased and then call police before they are actually robbed.

Police ask anyone who might recognize the suspects to contact the San Francisco Robbery Investigations Unit, 415-553-1285.

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