A man used a hammer to break an outside display window of a downtown Washington jewelry store Wednesday morning and escaped with three trays of white diamond rings, according to D.C. police.
The owner of Robert Laurence Jewelers in the 1200 block of G St. NW, near Metro Center, said he was trying to determine the value of the stolen jewelry, but he said the haul appeared to be worth a little more than $5,000.
“Fortunately, it’s looking like a lot less than we had originally thought,” said Robert Laurence. District police had earlier said the rings had an “exceedingly high value.”
The mid-morning burglary occurred on a usually crowded street four blocks from the White House near several large hotels and across the street from Macy’s department store.
“It was a bold, brazen move,” said D.C. Officer Araz Alali, a department spokemsman. “It was audacious theft and we are determined to apprehend this individual.”
At this time, police said the District case does not appear to be related to a similar robbery that occurred March 19 at the Torneau store at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. Arlington County police said four men with masks, hoods and gloves used a hammer to shatter a display case in the mall store and steal two dozen Rolex watches worth about $609,000.
Wedensday’s burglary occurred about 10:20 a.m. Alali said the man struck the glass numerous times until it broke. Laurence said the man used a small hammer and managed to break only a small hole in the glass.
Laurence said there might have been five rings on each tray, and none was of high value. Police said there were customers and staff inside the jewelry store, and that the man ran south on 12th Street to escape.
Police said the robber was believed to be a man standing about 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 140 pounds, wearing a large black jacket with a blue stripe on the bottom and dark pants.
The jewelry store has been located at several downtown locations since it first opened in 1957 at one end of the 1200 block of G St. It’s now at the other end. Laurence described the patrons and staff as more angry than scared, calling the mid-morning break-in “brazen has hell.”
He said regular customers called the shop all morning asking if everyone was okay. “It’s hard enough to run a business,” Laurence said. ”We don’t need this.”