A group of thieves completed a smash-and-grab raid on a Park Avenue jewelry store early Saturday morning, taking merchandise worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, police said.
New York City Police (NYPD) said that three thieves broke through the glass front of Cellini Jewelers near E. 56th St. at around 3:30 a.m. The group broke three display cases containing hundreds of thousands of dollars-worth of watches and other jewelry.
The thieves escaped in a silver sedan that waited outside the store, completing the entire heist in under three minutes, according to police.
One employee said the crime was “not normal.”
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“I came this morning and saw my crew standing out here. I got numb from the neck up,” a store worker who only gave his name as A.J. told The New York Daily News. “I’ve been in the business for 40 years. It’s not normal to happen here on Park Avenue. It’s not normal to us.”
The store has yet to complete a full inventory following Saturday’s break-in.
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The Daily News reported that similar break-ins have occurred in the Bronx and Brooklyn, involving masked thieves using sledgehammers to break display cases and running off with anything they could grab.
Smash-and-grab crimes increased during the pandemic and continue to trouble police. Former New York assemblyman Dov Hikind in Dec. 2021 said that “these crimes are being committed, there are real victims out here.”
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A smash-and-grab robbery in Aug. 2022 saw robbers at Rocco’s Jewelry in the Bronx make off with an estimated $2.15 million in merchandise on a Friday afternoon.
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Robbers in that theft also used a sledgehammer to smash the glass cases while others shoved fistfuls of jewelry into bags. Four robbers, all wearing masks, took part in the Bronx robbery.