MIAMI (CBSMiami) — One man is in custody and police are looking for more after a pricey smash and grab that lasted only 34 seconds at a Fort Lauderdale Mall.
Surveillance cameras caught the chaos just before 5 p.m. Monday when the robbers burst into Nouri’s Jewelry Store located at the entrance of Coral Ridge Mall.
A terrified woman was seen running out of the store as other shoppers ran out another door and into the mall.
Meanwhile, two men with their faces covered, smashed jewelry cases and began to grab gold and diamond chains, pendants and bracelets.
“All I hear is big boom with the hammers, two guys come in break the glass,” said owner Nouri Hassan.
Hassan said he had just stocked the cases with jewelry for Valentine’s Day.
“Seems like people been here, like they know exactly what I have, so they targeted merchandise which is big item, bit heavy stuff,” said Hassan.
At one point, one of the guys was about to leave, but changed his mind and went back for more.
Moments later, a third crook casually walked in with his face fully showing and began the mad grab. It’s around that time Hassan said they made a threat.
“One guy said I have a gun, don’t do anything, just stay back,” said Hassan.
That’s when Hassan took action and threw a chair across the counter.
“Then I took the chair and, at first, I was trying to protect myself, then I didn’t know if they were going to pull a gun on me or not and I threw the chair at them,” said Hassan.
In 34 seconds, the men were out the door. They ran into a waiting car at the mall entrance.
Tuesday morning, store employee were still cleaning up the mess.
Not only did the robbers break the cases when they snatched more than $200,000 worth of jewelry, they also broke a display of expensive porcelain statues. Surveillance cameras caught one of the men bumping into a Lladro display.
The shelves collapsed, leaving behind thousands of dollars in broken figurines.
Investigators say Devonte Black is in custody in connection to the crime but they believe there were possibly three or four people involved.
Detectives said Black was in the get-a-way car, with stolen jewelry, a gun, and wearing the same clothes seen in the video.
“There appeared to be fragments of glass on his pants as well as rubber gloves in his pocket, several pairs of gloves in his pocket,” said Det. Ryan Ijames.
As the store is cleaned up, Hassan said he’s grateful. Although something like this happened a year and a half ago, he still feels lucky no one was hurt.
“Whatever money, it’s replaceable. I didn’t get hurt, nobody got hurt. This is like a blessing, is the thing, a blessing, no one got hurt,” said Hassan.
Anyone with information is urged to call Broward County Crimestoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.