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Burglars in $3-million Los Angeles jewelry heist showed perfect timing, tunneling skills, police say

March 2, 2011 |  6:42 am

Two masked thieves who bored into a downtown Los Angeles jewelry store through a tunnel and made off with an estimated $3 million in jewelry appeared to have some knowledge about the layout of the store, sources told The Times.

Investigators said the burglars dug the tunnel at a key point that avoided structural obstacles, allowing them to get in and out quickly.

Sources said the burglars also appeared to have perfect timing, making off with piles of wedding bands and engagement rings that happened to be in display cases rather than in a safe.

The break-in took place sometime between 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Broadway Gold Center at 601 S. Broadway,  officials said. The burglars, who wore masks and gloves and carried backpacks, tunneled into the store and cleaned out display cases of high-quality jewelry totaling $3 million, according to LAPD detectives.

The owners told investigators that it would take them three hours each day to bring out the jewelry from the safe and place it in display cases, and another three hours to return the pieces at end of the day.

When the burglary took place, officials said, the owners had left the merchandise in the cases to save time and effort.


Burglars tunnel into L.A. jewelry store, steal millions in jewels

Crime alerts for Del Rey, El Sereno and one other Los Angeles neighborhood

-- Andrew Blankstein