Police trying to find violent pawn shop robbers

December 20, 2012 4:19:55 PM PST
Detectives are investigating a a violent smash-and-grab robbery, where masked men used sledgehammers to smash display cases at a pawn shop in east Houston.

The thieves were in and out of the store within minutes. Now, police hope someone recognizes at least one of them. Investigators say the thieves may target other stores, so they want them off the streets.

This incredible robbery happened in the middle of the day on December 12. First, police say a man walked into the EZ Pawn and cased the store.

"He entered the business a few minutes prior to the incident happening. He looked around, I think he was posing as a customer," Houston Police Department's Ken Nealy said.

Then investigators tell us he returned to the parking lot and a waiting late model Dodge Charger. Then at least four men, who were masked and armed, charged into the shop, confronting a customer trying to leave.

"One of the customers was attempting to leave the business. It just so happens her timing was off by a few seconds. As she was leaving, that's when the approach the building," Nealy said.

They then forced her back inside, and while one man guarded the door with a handgun, the others used sledgehammers to smash glass cases and steal thousands of dollars worth of rings, watches and other jewelry.

While investigators cannot yet tie them to any other robberies, they are certain that this was not their first violent crime.

"It gives the appearance that they have no fear, nor do they care about the safety of the employees or the customers that may be inside there," Nealy said.

Within two minutes, the robbery is over. The men leave in the Dodge, which police say is unique in that it has chrome door handles and chrome windshield wipers.

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for any information called in to the 713-222-TIPS (8477) or submitted online at www.crime-stoppers.org that leads to the filing of felony charges or arrest of the suspect(s) in this case. Tips can also be sent by text message. Text TIP610 plus your tip to CRIMES (274637). All tipsters remain anonymous.


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