Men armed with hammers pulled off a daring jewelry store robbery Monday morning in Pentagon City, smashing a glass display case and scooping up more than two dozen diamond rings just a week and a half before Valentine’s Day, police said.
It happened about 11 a.m., an hour after the Zales Jewelers opened at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.
Four men wearing masks and hoods walked into the store on the third level of the mall, said Dustin Sternbeck, a spokesman for Arlington police. Two of them shattered a display case with hammers, then all four grabbed handfuls of merchandise, Sternbeck said.
They took 27 rings valued at $128,000, according to police.
The men ran out of the store, which was near the parking garage exit, Sternbeck said.
A fifth accomplice was waiting for them in a red sedan. The men took off in the car, which crashed through the exit arm of the parking garage, breaking it, as they sped off, Sternbeck said.
Police said that there were employees in the store during the robbery but that nobody was hurt.
“They did not want to step in for fear of their safety,” Sternbeck said.
He said police are looking into whether the upcoming Valentine's Day holiday may have been an impetus for the crime.
“It’s 10 days away from Valentine’s Day,” Sternbeck said. “Jewelry happens to be one of the more popular items for the holiday. We don’t know yet if there’s a connection.”
Police do not have a strong description of the robbers but are reviewing video from the store.
The robbery comes about six months after an Arlington jewelry store owner was killed in a robbery on Columbia Pike. Tommy K. Wong, 52, was killed at Capital Jewelers by a man who wore a brightly-colored traffic safety vest, police said. James Sylvester Caroline, 52, of the District was arrested in the case.