Armed men order customers to ground during jewelry store heist

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Three men with guns held up a south Charlotte jewelry store Tuesday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said.

[ALSO READ: Gunmen hold up restaurant at busy south Charlotte shopping center]

It happened shortly before 6 p.m. at Brownlee Jewelers in the Park Road Shopping Center.

Customers and employees told Channel 9 the three robbers, who wore hoods and bandanas to cover their faces, ordered everyone to the ground at gunpoint and told them to have their arms out.

They used a crowbar to smash a case that contained jewels, grabbed some and put them in a tote, a customer told Channel 9′s Joe Bruno.

The thieves stole more than 100 rings.

Police said a fourth person was waiting outside in a getaway car, and the thieves were able to escape.

No injuries were reported.

“It’s really surprising,” shopper Haley Denny said the day after the heist. “This is a really good neighborhood, so you really don’t see much crime.”

Channel 9′s crime reporter Glenn Counts spoke with the store’s owner, who said he is thankful no one was hurt. He said his employees did exactly as they were trained to do.

In terms of perspective, he added the last time the store had been robbed was more than 20 years ago.

The store opened Wednesday morning, but police were at the store to review surveillance video to see if they could use it to identify the suspects.

A little more than a month ago, on Oct. 27, police said two men robbed Chopt at gunpoint just after closing time in the same shopping center. CMPD said the crimes were not connected.

Shoppers said they were surprised something like this would happen.

“No, we kinda think it’s somebody else that it can happen too,” shopper Juliann Bannon said. “Shocked, shocked that it can happen here.”

David Pham works in the shopping center and would like to see more police presence.

“They come around here more times,” David Pham said. “They can show.”

This is an ongoing investigation. Check back with wsoctv.com for more information.

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