Masked robbers hit Cartier shop in Montgomery County

A brazen group of masked robbers hit a Cartier jewelry store in Montgomery County on Tuesday morning — smashing open a display cabinet, stealing merchandise and leading police on a chase in two jurisdictions that left a D.C. officer injured.

As of early Tuesday evening, the men were still at large, last seen in a black Dodge Charger bearing license tags from Virginia and Illinois.

“They physically took control of the store,” said Capt. Paul Starks, a Montgomery police spokesman.

About 11 a.m., the men, who wore gloves, entered the Wisconsin Avenue shop just northwest of the District. It’s part of a row of retailers known as the Collection at Chevy Chase, which includes Jimmy Choo, Tiffany and Co., Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Bulgari, Dior and Ralph Lauren.

The men didn’t display weapons, Starks said. A security guard and three other employees complied with the robbers, who were out of the store within a minute, Starks said.

Masked robbers hit this Cartier store on Tuesday in Chevy Chase. (Dan Morse/The Washington Post)

The spokesman declined to identify what was taken, saying detectives did not want to release specific information that could jeopardize their investigation.

Officers responding to the robbery call saw the group fleeing in the Charger. The officers chased it to the District, breaking off their pursuit at the border. By policy, Montgomery officers are not supposed to chase cars into other jurisdictions unless they think a violent felony has been committed. In this case, no one was injured inside the store, police said.

The car was later seen in the Cleveland Park area making a left turn from Connecticut Avenue to Porter Street NW. It was unclear when other officers picked up the pursuit.

Closer to downtown, a D.C. police officer apparently spotted the car. During a chase, he crashed his cruiser in the area of Halley Place and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, according to a D.C. police spokesman. The officer was taken to a hospital with injuries that were described as not life-threatening.

According to D.C. police, the Charger had one tag from Virginia, JWR459, and another tag from Illinois, P563888.

Montgomery detectives were reviewing interior surveillance footage from Cartier, Starks said. As of Tuesday evening, they were still weighing whether to release it.

Detectives are asking that anyone with information about the robbery to call 240-773-5100. Those who wish to remain anonymous or be eligible for a possible reward of up to $10,000 can call 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Dan Morse covers courts and crime in Montgomery County. He arrived at the paper in 2005, after reporting stops at the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun and Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is the author of The Yoga Store Murder.

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