Thieves cut through wall, rob safe

March 19, 2008 8:16:23 PM PDT
The search is on for the thieves who snatched half-a-million dollars worth of jewelry in New Jersey. And you won't believe what they literally went through to avoid the store's security cameras.

Eyewitness News reporter Tim Fleischer has the story.

"This is major," jewelry vendor Gus Issa said. "We all concerned."

Issa has joined a growing group of concerned vendors who sell diamonds and glittery jewelry at the Paramus Jeweler's Exchange. Burglers, for the third time in little more than a year, broke into a safe at the exchange and stole gems estimated at $500,000.

"The security now, we don't have from midnight to morning," vendor Dale Nazy said. "So apparently the thieves got in during that time."

Going into two empty stores adjacent to the exchange, the brazen thieves cut into one store and then cut through another wall into the safe of Gabrielle Jewelers.

"They went into the safe that way, so they didn't set any motion detectors off or anything like that," Exchange manager Gene Williamson said.

The exchange has security cameras and motion detectors, which didn't go off because the thieves apparently never entered the store. Still, security video was turned over to police.

But vendors complain that the real problem is the empty stores.

"The landlord, if he can afford to let those stores be out for two years, I'm sure he can afford security for that time between 12 and 7 o'clock in the morning."

The owners of Gabrielle Jewelry didn't want to talk about the theft or weigh in on the neighboring security concerns.

"They went through one wall after the other," Williamson said. "But all those things are vacant, so there's no alarms in there."

It leaving the 20 other vendors in a bind.

"Mall security is our concern now," Issa said.