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Nearly $250k worth of luxury watches stolen in smash-and-grab robbery at jeweler in Newport Beach

Thieves steal nearly $250k worth of watches from Newport Beach jeweler during smash-and-grab
Thieves steal nearly $250k worth of watches from Newport Beach jeweler during smash-and-grab 02:17

Police are searching for a group of robbers who targeted a jewelry shop in Newport Beach last week, taking off with a quarter million dollars worth of luxury watches. 

Newport Beach police say that the incident happened back on Sept. 8 just after 4 p.m., when four suspects ransacked the front display at Jewelers on Time, located on 149 Riverside Avenue. 

The entire ordeal took just 20 seconds, with the thieves taken nearly two dozen Rolex watches, estimated to be worth $250,000. 

KCAL News spoke with the employee working during the robbery. He says that he had buzzed in a customer, who can be seen in surveillance footage from the store wearing a white t-shirt. 

"He held the door open and three other accomplices came in, smashing display cases," the employee said, referring to the locked steel security door, which requires each customer to get buzzed in by an employee. 

The footage of the incident shows the man holding the door as three men, dressed in all black with face coverings, rushing in. One of the suspects can be seen using a hammer to break the glass while the other two grab trays of watches, throwing them into bags they brought with. 

"When I saw the three guys run in, I ran into the back and told my partner to hit the silent alarm," the employee said. "Thinking, 'Hey, they can tie us up and go through our items in the back too.'"

Albert Frosio, the owner of the jewelry store, says that he was expecting to get shot after his seeing how his employee reacted. 

Days later and all of the glass that scattered the floor of the store has been cleaned up, but evidence of the smash-and-grab remain, with shattered display cases still awaiting repair, held together by tape. 

Frosio says that other stores in the area have been hit recently. Though he has insurance, he doesn't expect to get any of the watches back any time soon. 

"We have to buzz people in. You can not tell people go away," he said. "It's a problem, we have to handle it. We have to live with it."

No one was injured in the incident, but the employee remains shaken. 

As of now, investigators do not have any leads on the suspects involved. 

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