|Market Mall jewelry store robbery
CALGARY -- Police say they're astounded at the audacity of thieves who used a vehicle to smash their way into Market Mall to make a major jewelry heist early Monday.
Just before 4 a.m., culprits driving a stolen white Dodge Journey SUV plowed through the north entrance of the mall, Insp. Darren Leggatt said.
"They used the tail end of the vehicle to ram it through the entranceway and then an unknown number of suspects departed the vehicle to take a significant amount of jewelry," he said.
"It's a rare occurrence and certainly brazen, though nothing surprises us anymore -- it does take a significant amount of courage and wherewithal to perpetrate this kind of crime."
The mall entrance, he said, suffered major structural damage.
Hours after the burglary, wristwatches and broken glass littered the floor of Jewels by Maximes, which is just metres past the badly damaged mall doors.
The crooks had pried open the security gates of the shuttered shop to gain access and once they finished looting it, left the same way they'd come, Leggatt said.
"It leads us to believe it was a targeted attack and to some degree, it was planned out," he said.
Judging from shattered display cases, the thieves seemed to favour Gucci watches, among other items.
Shortly afterward, following a tip from the public, police found the suspect SUV with a damaged rear end in a neighbourhood not far from the mall.
It's being examined by police forensics experts.
Leggatt said police are interviewing merchants to see if they've noticed anyone casing that part of the mall in recent days.
They're also reviewing surveillance video, he said.
A security staffer on vehicle patrol nearby spotted the SUV just as it was fleeing the property, said mall general manager Paige O'Neill.
Another security member was in an office about a two-minute walk away from the crime scene, she said.
"The burglars were very quick, they were in and out in less than three minutes," O'Neill said. "As soon as the alarms were heard and the noise was heard, police were notified."
The damaged entranceway will be closed off until it's deemed or made structurally safe, she said, adding the disruption to Christmas shopping will be limited.
"I'm guessing Jewels by Maxime's will be up and running pretty quickly," she said.
Police are asking anyone with information on the crime to call 1-800-222-8477 or type tttTIPS.com