Violent jewelry heist caught on video

Chris Doucette, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:17 PM ET

TORONTO - The hunt is on for two brazen bandits who robbed a midtown jewelry shop at gunpoint and terrorized employees.

Toronto Police say the masked men burst into Jewellery By Isaac at 2490 Yonge St., north of Eglinton Ave., around 1:30 p.m. on May 1 armed with a shotgun and took over the store.

“This was a very violent robbery,” Staff-Insp. Mike Earl said Tuesday. “They rushed in there with a real sense of purpose and immediately began terrorizing the staff.”

The holdup squad boss said one of the crooks was armed with a shotgun, which he pointed at the staff as he barked commands.

“He pointed the shotgun at the victims and racked it two times as he ordered them to get down on their knees,” Earl said. “They were no doubt afraid they were going to be murdered right then and there.”

“I’m sure the victims will have this frightening incident playing over and over in their minds for a long time,” he added.

The robbery was captured on video, which police have released to the public in an effort to identify the bandits.

In the footage, the man armed with the shotgun can be seen using the butt of the firearm to smash the displays cases as his partner in crime follows behind scooping up jewelry and stuffing it into a duffel bag.

“It’s just unbelievable,” Earl said. “This happened in the middle of the afternoon on a busy Yonge St., so it doesn’t get much more brazen than that.”

“Anything could have triggered these individuals to panic, the shotgun could have gone off and someone could have been killed,” he added.

Earl said the pair fled in an unknown direction with “a substantial amount” of jewelry, which was spilling out of the bag as they took off.

He believes the takeover-style heist was “planned.”

The crooks wore bandanas to cover their faces, but investigators have since located surveillance video from nearby cameras that captured two suspects without disguises.

“Somebody is going to know these guys,” Earl said.

He’s hopeful someone will recognizes the suspects and come forward to help police identify them.

“It’s really a grave concern for us knowing these guys are out there with that shotgun,” Earl said. “The bottom line is we have to catch them and get that firearm off the street.”

One bandit is described as a white man, about 5-foot-9.and 25 to 30 years old. The second man has brown skin, is about 6-feet-tall and 25 to 30 years old.

Anyone with information regarding the identity or whereabouts of the suspects is urged to call the Holdup Squad at 416-808-7350 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-22-TIPS.

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