A trio of armed robbers who, straight out of the movie Snatch, were caught on tape stylishly holding up a jewelry store in the middle of Manhattan’s Diamond District on Sunday afternoon. The robbery took place at Midtown’s Avianne and Co., according to the New York Post, who posted the video online Monday.
The security footage shows the robbers tossing a duffel bag and tying up the store’s workers in a back room after brandishing pistols. One “dapper” bandit, wearing a stylish blue suit and sporting a fedora hat over braids, was seated near the rear of the store when he pulled a silver pistol out from between his legs.
The footage also shows another man forcing an employee onto his knees in a back room, where expensive watches and bottles of champagne are out on display. The robbery reportedly took about 15 minutes and two of the victims were just 16 years old.
One worker said:
“It was a horrific event because you have no capabilities, you can’t really do anything and you have guns pointing at your faces. They weren’t saying much. They were very sloppy. Sloppy thieves because they weren’t in coordination. If one guy was saying, ‘Get their phones,’ another guy was saying, ‘Open the showcase.’ They got away with a lot of merchandise.”
The worker continued:
“A lot of merchandise, things that cannot be accounted for. It’s amazing. It’s really amazing, shocking,” he said on Monday, with red marks still on his arms from his bindings. “I worked in the jewelry business for eight years. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The criminals walked into the store under the guise of being customers, claiming before being buzzed in that they were there to buy rings. They forced employees to open the store safe and robbed the establishment of diamond-studded chains and watches worth a reported $4 million.
They also reportedly stole one workers’ wallet, telling them, “If you happen to do anything, you’ll be messed up.”
They then fled on 47th Street.
One veteran of the diamond district said it was “really stupid” to do business there on a Sunday, when the area is usually desolate:
“Who opens up on a Sunday where cars can park on the block and get away?” the merchant said. “It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Avianne and Co. generally caters to “hip hop heavyweights” with “showy pieces”, according to the report. It advertises itself as leading “celebrity jewelers” who have a high end clientele, including Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj.
Most recently, it made a custom piece of jewelry for a rapper from LA called “Blueface”, who is a School Yard Crips gang member.
“Man, if you guys take a close look at the color of the blue — just look at the color of the blue. Just look at how beautiful, sky-blue the diamonds are. Every single diamond matches the color,” the rapper’s Instagram said, celebrating blue, the gang’s signature color.
According to the NYPD, “Avianne shows no allegiance to the Crips or its rival Bloods gang.” The company apparently makes jewelry for both. “Whoever has the money. It’s all about the money,” the NYPD said.
But it seems that this time around, the shop got a little more of the “thug life” than they bargained for.
Video of the heist can be seen here: