Six men armed with axes and bats drove through a London shopping mall on motorcycles and raided a jewelry store in a robbery reminiscent of a Hollywood movie, officials said.
Police are looking for the men, who were dressed in black and wearing crash helmets and visors to conceal their identities, after they raced through the Brent Cross shopping center Tuesday morning.
The three motorbikes pulled up in front of a Fraser Hart jewelry store when three of the men jumped off the back of the bikes and raided the store of valuable jewels. They nabbed Cartiers, Rolexes and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of watches, according to police.
Shoppers watched in horror from a distance as the remaining three men waited outside the store with the motorcycles. The scene was reminiscent of the crime thriller “The Italian Job.”
“We looked out and we saw six men, two on each bike, pull up outside Fraser Hart and then they pulled out an ax and they were getting into Fraser Hart and telling everyone to stay back,” mall employee Claire Smalley told BBC News.
“It was really scary and I’ve got young girls that work for us and it really wasn’t a pleasant experience. We had to bolt the doors quickly,” she added.
Police recovered the motorbikes at a nearby golf course less than an hour after the robbery. No one was injured in the raid but an elderly man was treated on the scene for shock.
The raid began 15 minutes after the mall opened to shoppers. The three powerful motorcycles raced through the mall and stopped in front of Fraser Hart.
Surveillance video caught the entire scene unfolding. It took two minutes. One of the robbers can be seen through the store’s window grabbing at jewelry on display and throwing it into a black sack.
One of the men waiting outside the store used his ax to deter people from coming near the scene by holding it in the air as if he would swing it. He then smashed a piece of glass railing across from the store’s entrance.
Another store adjacent to Fraser Hart immediately pulled down its security gate while the other three robbers remained outside the jewelry store.
“It was very frightening. I could not believe it was happening,” Sue Bangs, who was in a different store at the time of the robbery, told BBC News. “All the shops suddenly put down their shutters and we were locked in for a while. My heart was pounding.”
The robbers emerged from the store and hopped back on the waiting motorbikes before speeding out of the camera’s view.
The day before the mall was hit, a motorcycle gang smashed the windows of a pawn shop in the same area, stuffing their pockets with loot.