PEMBROKE PINES (CBS4) – The South Florida Violent Crimes and Fugitive Task Force is on the lookout for a group of thieves who burst into a crowded jewelry store in Pembroke Pines and robbed the place.

Police and witnesses tell CBS 4 News that several armed and masked men spent less than a minute inside the Jared’s Jewelry Store at Pines Boulevard and Hiatus Road. We’re told the men stole jewelry and a purse and left everyone terrified.

Crime scene investigators poured over evidence inside the store late Wednesday night.

While detectives spoke to customers and employees, police and witnesses say at least three men wearing masks and carrying at least one gun burst in around 7:50 pm and carried out their crime.

Two young men were outside the store and watched it happen.

“I said to my friend ‘They’re robbing the store’ as a joke,” said one of the young men. “I looked closer and when I saw the gun I said this place is really getting robbed.”

The young men said they ran and called police and watched the thieves hop in a getaway car.

“We ran out here and they ran to the car and peeled off,” said a second young man.

Pembroke Pines police quickly arrived on scene as did the FBI. The South Florida Violent Crimes and Fugitive Task Force is leading the investigation.

These young men are glad they survived unharmed.

“I didn’t want to get shot,” said one of the young men. “I was thinking about both our lives.”

Police searched in front of the store for clues. Witnesses said there were lots of people outside here Wednesday night and this could have ended badly.

“It could happen anywhere but just the fact that it’s out in the open there’s so many people out,” said one of the young men.

Police tell us there is surveillance video but it has not been released to CBS 4 News. Police tell us they are looking for a black late model Mercedes.

If you have any information call the Pembroke Pines Police Department or Crime Stoppers at 954 493 TIPS.

Carey Codd