GPS Trackers Hidden in Watches Led to Brazen Mall Robbers, Cops Say
Saint Cross jewelry via Koreatown Plaza
The Los Angeles Police Department says, "This sounds like the plot of a Hollywood movie," and we don't disagree.
At 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, cops say, nine robbers swooped in on the Saint Cross jewelry store at the Koreatown Plaza mall on Western Avenue and took "several hundred" high-end watches.
According to an LAPD statement, they attacked with "coordinated precision and speed, overpowered employees and took over the store to rob it of its loot of several hundred expensive designer watches."
The robbers were armed and used sledgehammers to smash display cases as employees were held at gunpoint, police said. The few-minute crime was a "well-planned, coordinated and practiced operation," LAPD stated.
The mall was filled with shoppers, cops said. Saint Cross has been robbed multiple times. On May 18, 2011, thieves nabbed $800,000 worth of Rolex watches, authorities said at the time.
The retailer appears to specialize in Rolex, Cartier and Piaget watches. The fine timepieces now come with something extra.
Police say that GPS trackers "embedded in the watches" quickly led helicopter-based officers to two suspects in a vehicle in West Covina. Investigative leads then led to eight others, including five who are not yet 18 years old, LAPD stated:
Officers recovered three firearms, and a number of sledgehammers used in the crime. To the delight of the store owners, officers also recovered several hundred expensive designer watches that were taken during the robbery.
All the suspects tracked down were arrested and face the possibility of felony charges, cops said.
Police indicated it was a miracle no one was injured. The take-down, the department stated, "could have had disastrous results."
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Anyone with information on the robbers was asked to call detectives at 213-382-9380.
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