Galleria jewelry theft caught on camera

January 3, 2012 9:13:08 PM PST
We're getting an inside look at the violent robbery of a Galleria jewelry store that happened in the thick of the holiday shopping rush. It was a fast crime carried out three days before Christmas while the mall was open and packed with one of its biggest crowds of the year.

The video shows just how quickly the thieves were in and out of the crowded mall, running off with hundreds of thousands of dollars in Rolex watches.

Just two days before Christmas, witnesses described the chaos in the Galleria mall.

"Some are getting on the floor flat chested, others are dragging their girlfriends along, their wives, I think I even saw some folks with strollers," said eyewitness Bryan Parras.

Investigators say three men entered the crowded store and shattered the glass of a display case inside.

After clearing the case of its contents, the suspects left through a nearby door and took off in a vehicle waiting outside.

Now the pictures of what went on inside Ben Bridge Jewelers as three men stormed in around nine o'clock that night.

"I'm sure it was pretty startling when they busted the case," said former HPD Officer Rob Kimmons, who now owns his own security company. "Looks like he has some kind of hammer or chisel there."

He examined the quick video of the crime.

"In a case like this you have to deal with the crowds, but if you can get in and out quickly like they did, they create chaos by the mere fact of breaking the glass. It's just difficult for any kind of security response to happen that quickly," said Kimmons.

The thieves made off with almost $400,000 in high end goods including several rare Rolex watches.

Along with the surveillance video, Crime Stoppers released a picture similar to one of the rare watches stolen -- the Yacht Master II Rolex made of oyster, stainless steel and Everose gold. It's believed there are only 12 in the state of Texas.

"Anyone who would plan this type of a crime during the height of the Christmas shopping season, underneath lights where there are witnesses around and surveillance video is recording. Anyone who would do that is a dangerous, violent felon in our community and they need to be stopped before there is a greater tragedy," said Katherine Cabaniss with Crime Stoppers.

This former police officer says investigators have likely checked cameras throughout the mall for pictures of the getaway car and even gone back several weeks to see if these same individuals were casing the store.

"I think it's obvious in this instance they knew exactly what they were going for; in less than a minute they were out of there," Kimmons said.

The suspects are described as three African-American males, approximately 20-30 years old. At the time of the offense, the suspects wore dark colored clothing, gloves, masks and hats to conceal their identity.

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for any information called in to the 713-222-TIPS (8477) or submitted online at that leads to the filing of felony charges or arrest of the suspects in this case.