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Trio Terrorizes Pawn Shop Workers, Customers

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FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) - A trio of bad guys with a thing for pawn shops have struck twice since the beginning of November.

Now the Broward Sheriff's Office is hoping to track them down before they strike again.

BSO spokeswoman Joy Oglesby told CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "We are concerned that there are armed criminals out there who are a danger to society and we would like to find out who they are and bring them into custody. We definitely worry that these crimes can escalate, when you have people with guns threatening to kill someone. It's just a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt or there is a death investigation."

The first robbery happened November 1st just before 11:30 a.m. The three males, who had their faces covered, rushed into the Value Pawn & Jewelry, at 196 N. Powerline Road in Pompano Beach, and ordered the employees at gunpoint to lay down on the ground.

One of the robbers held the employees at bay while the other two plucked jewelry from a smashed glass display case. They then ran out of the shop to a black SUV, leaving a trail of jewelry behind them.

In the second robbery, on November 16th around 1:15 p.m., the getaway driver scouted out the Value Pawn & Jewelry at 602 S. State Road 7 in Margate. About 15 minutes later, the trio entered the store, threatened to kill the customers and staff and stole jewelry.

This time, they fled in a dark-colored sedan that was captured on video parked around the corner from the pawn shop.

"The tape shows a crime being plotted," said Oglesby. "You see a car pulling up and a man who detectives believe is the getaway driver goes inside and looks around and talks to the owner and leaves. The next thing you know is a car pulls up and three armed men get out.

"One man comes in with his gun and another man uses a hammer and smashes the cases and steals jewelry while an armed robber holds staff at gunpoint and he threatens to kill them.  Of the three individuals, two of them speak Spanish so we believe they are Hispanic. And one man wore a very distinctive light blue athletic jacket."

Sheriff's detectives believe the same guys committed both robberies.

"If anyone has any information and may have seen someone putting on attire or may have seen them in their neighborhood, please come forward," said Oglesby. "They may recognize the person in the blue athletic jacket."

D'Oench tried to speak with victims and other employees at both stores but was told that corporate policy at value pawn and jewelry forbids all employees from speaking to the media in such situations.

Anyone with information is asked to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477) or online at browardcrimestoppers.org. Anonymous tips that lead to an arrest are eligible for a reward of up to $3,000.

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