Victim of terrifying Chatham jewelry store robbery speaks out

EMBED </>More Videos

Anthony Johnson reports a jewelry store owner was tied up and held at gunpoint in a robbery in Chatham, N.J.

Police are looking for the thieves who stole tens of thousands of dollars in jewelry from a store in New Jersey, and the victim of the terrifying incident is speaking out about the ordeal.

It happened at Crescent Jewelers, a small store in quiet town in Chatham.

The family that has owned the store for 35 years was visibly shaken by a daring heist, as the owner's wife was alone inside when two armed robbers burst in. Within moments, she knew she was in trouble.

"He had the gun to my head while they were Duct taping me," Joanne Prisco said. "So I just kept saying, 'Please don't shoot me.'"

She said the suspects had been in the store Wednesday, apparently casing the merchandise, and she had provided them a service for free.

"The first one came in in the morning and asked me if I cleaned jewelry, and I said yes," she said. "When the second one came, I said, 'Didn't you just come in this morning and ask me?' And he said no. And he went through the things again, 'Do you clean jewelry? How much would it be?' And I said 'I won't charge you.'"

When the suspects returned Thursday asking for diamond engagement rings, Prisco knew something was wrong.

"I felt uneasy when I saw that guy coming in to get the engagement ring today," she said. "But I said, 'Oh God, I'm being so paranoid. This is not right. You shouldn't be like that.' So I didn't hit the panic button."

Once many of the display cabinets in the store the were empty, the two thieves left the store. But once outside, they calmly walked to a waiting getaway car. Witnesses say one suspect was wearing a vest similar to what is worn by street repair road crews.

The close call has left Prisco is in fear of being inside the store alone.

"We always felt very safe here," she said. "And I guess we took it for granted."

Anyone with information is urged to call police.

Related Topics:
jewelry theftNew Jersey
(Copyright ©2018 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)