$80,000 worth of jewelry stolen from Mercer County store

HAMILTON TWP., N.J. -- A Mercer County jewelry store is reeling after two thieves broke in, smashing display cases, and making off with thousands of dollars worth of diamonds.

It was 3:30 Wednesday morning when two thieves broke a window and entered Trent Jewelers near Five Points in Hamilton Township.

The first suspect took a swing with a tire iron to smash a display case, while his partner in crime made a beeline to two more cases at the other end of the store.

They filled their bags with $80,000 worth of diamond rings and other estate jewelry and were in and out of the store in 30 seconds.

Trent Jewelers owner Peter Pontani tells us, "He knew he was going to that case. He ran directly to it, and he took out... he busted the glass and took out five trays of diamond rings with each tray had 22 rings in it."

The two men believed to be in their mid-20s were both wearing bandannas to cover their faces.

"Someone had to come in and case the place," said Paul Pontani.

Paul says employees are reviewing the last months store surveillance tapes to see if the burglars appear inside prior to the heist. The video doesn't show a clear picture of their faces, but police are hoping someone out there may recognize the pair.

Capt. James Stevens of Hamilton Twp Police tells us, "Maybe somebody will recognize the mannerisms, the method that they used to break into the place. How they walk."

The Pontanis say insurance doesn't cover items that are not placed in the store safe overnight. And after being robbed of $180,000 worth of jewelry 15 years ago, this family-owned business is reeling after this.

Peter says, "It's a big loss to us. It's like part of our retirement that we would've worked for. It takes so many years in this business to build and then somebody takes it away like that."

Dana Pontani Varhley explains the emotional toll, saying, "It's incredibly painful. You feel it, like it breaks your heart knowing how hard your family works."

The Pontani family is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves. Anyone with information is asked to call police.
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