Police are hunting a trio of masked, hammer-wielding robbers who raided a jewelry store in Aberdeen Centre on Tuesday afternoon.
Shortly before 4 p.m., the suspects – who wore surgical masks, but appeared to be dressed as construction workers – burst into Lukfook Jewelry on the centre’s second floor armed with hammers.
According to Richmond RCMP, several display cases were smashed and an undetermined amount of jewelry was taken.
However, during the heist, several of the mall’s security personnel tackled the suspects and one of them managed to disarm a hammer from one of the thieves.
“Original reports had suggested that shots were fired in the robbery. This was not the case,” said Richmond RCMP’s Cpl. Dennis Hwang.
“It is likely that the sound of jewelry cases being smashed were mistaken for gunshots.
“Officers from our General Investigative Services Unit have been fully engaged and are following up on several leads.”
No injuries were reported but the store staff appeared visibly shaken, according to police.
The suspects reportedly fled in a gray GMC Sierra pickup truck.
Officers, with the assistance of the Lower Mainland Air Services helicopter, Air-One, scoured the area searching for the suspects and located the pickup truck, abandoned, in the 9300 block of Capstan Way. The truck was on file as being stolen from Surrey.
Hwang said the officers are currently analyzing surveillance footage in hopes of identifying the suspects.
“Specialists from the Lower Mainland Integrated Forensic Services Unit have processed the crime scene and are completing their examination on the pickup truck which is being held at Richmond Detachment,” Hwang added.
“The security personnel from the mall were instrumental in challenging the suspects and providing accurate information to us.
“One, in particular, exhibited an unprecedented level of experience and calm in light of this high risk situation.”
By Wednesday morning, the store in question seemed to be back to normal and there was no sign of any of the previous day’s drama.
A spokesperson for Aberdeen Centre praised the mall’s security staff, noting that one of them managed to grab, from a suspect, one of the two bags containing the stolen jewelry.
Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact Const. Sandra Chan, of the Richmond RCMP, at 604-278-1212, by email at Richmond_Tips@rcmp-grc.gc.ca or anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.