Arrest in $250,000 smash and grab

July 23, 2009 9:14:33 AM PDT
Police are investigating a smash and grab that took place this afternoon in Center City Philadelphia.

In just 28 seconds, the culprits used hammers to smash jewelry cases and made off with nearly $250,000 in jewelry.

Police Wednesday arrested 19-year-old Nathaniel Williams. He's been charged with robbery, terroristic threats and other offenses.

The robbery happened at around 2:00 p.m. on the 1800 block of Chestnut Street at Boyds on June 4th.

RELATED: See surveillance video of the smash and grab.

Two men entered the high-end retailer. One, armed with a gun, took a security guard to the ground and his accomplice then sprayed the guard with mace and attempted to spray an employee.

Moments later, two more men stormed the building carrying hammers. They broke into glass jewelry cases, stealing high end watches and other jewelry.

"You see some people taking cover. From what the security guard describes, the banging of the glass almost sounded like shots fired," Lt. Frank Vanore of the Philadelphia Police Department said.

The criminals then fled in a vehicle parked in front of the store.

The group knew what it wanted as they went right after the Harry Winston and Audemars Piquet watches which retail for upwards of $40,000 each.

In all, the bandits took 16 watches, worth an estimated half a million dollars

The jewelry is owned by Govberg which has a boutique shop within the retailer.

"Very, very brazen and very, very violent individuals. You see they were very organized. They were in the store for about 28 seconds?that's a pretty organized robbery. They're individuals we need to identify very quickly, find out who they are, and get them off the street," Lt. Vanore said.

Nobody was seriously injured in this smash and grab.

If you recognize any of the other thieves, you are urged to call Philadelphia Police.

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