JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Police are searching for the thieves who stole nearly half a million dollars' worth of jewelry and a bag with $20,000 cash during a violent smash-and-grab robbery in Jersey City.
One worker was hit in the head with a gun and even though surveillance video wasn't working, customers in the store recorded the robbery.
The incident was reported Sunday just after 4:30 p.m. at Sara Jewelry at 787 Newark Avenue.
Authorities say five men wearing masks entered the store and proceeded to break display cases to grab the jewelry.
Even as people walked by, the brazen robbers didn't show any concern and calmly left the store and got into two vehicles waiting for them outside.
The women behind the counter were forced to get on the ground and one was assaulted.
Zaniv Riaz said a suspect ordered her to push a button and hit and pushed her.
There were two customers in the store at the time, including a 3-year-old.
The first suspect gained access inside by pushing a customer in when the door was buzzed open.
The store owner's wife, Naila Akbary, said she was ordered to lay down. A gun was pulled out during the crime and that added to the workers' fear.
"He said 'open the safe or otherwise I'll shoot you,'" Riaz said.
Both of the employees were shaken up but are counting their blessings they were not shot.
The owner of the store said a bag with $20,000 cash inside of it was taken as well as about $480,000 in jewelry.
"It's not like they just walked in and said let me rob this stuff from this store," owner Waheed Akbary said. "I believe they have come and checked which one is an easier target."
So far no arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.
Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News