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2 sought in Santa Monica jewelry heist

October 9, 2012 |  9:19 pm

Santa Monica police were searching Tuesday evening for at least two armed suspects who made off with a backpack containing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry.

Details about the theft were sketchy because of a language barrier, authorities said. But about 4:30 p.m., a 911 caller reported that two masked men had robbed a pair of jewelry couriers at gunpoint in the 500 block of 17th Street, said Sgt. Richard Lewis of the Santa Monica Police Department.

The victims, who are from Hong Kong, had just left a store on Montana Avenue, driven to 17th Street, parked and were headed to a residence for a private viewing, Lewis said.

Two men, at least one of whom brandished a handgun, came up from behind and took the victims' backpack, he said. The missing jewelry was still being inventoried, but Lewis said it was worth at least $200,000.

The suspects were both described as being in their mid-20s with medium-builds, wearing dark hoodies and bandannas over their faces. One man is black and the other is believed to be Latino or black, Lewis said.

Police are trying to establish whether they were assisted by a third suspect, who may have driven the getaway vehicle: a dark-colored car.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8495.

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-- Alexandra Zavis

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