NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) --Philadelphia police have released surveillance images of a smash-and-grab robbery at a Macy's store in Northeast Philadelphia, that police say is connected to the Center City Boyds store robbery.
The images show the three men wearing hoodies, apparently in the process of smashing a jewelry case. Investigators say the men, who also wore masks, got away with 14 watches with a total value of $16,000.
Another image showed the silver Mercedes Benz used in the getaway, with Pa. license plate HVA-3241.
It happened just after 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Cottman Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard.
It happened as horrified clerks and customers watched.
"I just forgot about shopping and I walked away. I got scared, I was shaking," customer Nicole Peto of Northeast Philadelphia said.
"When they were out in the parking lot, they dropped an empty bag and then all three males entered a Mercedes Benz," Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.
That Mercedes is identical to the one used in the smash and grab overnight Tuesday at high-end Center City retailer Boyds, police said.
There, the men used a Toyota SUV to smash the store's front window before seven of them rushed into the store.
They made off with $45,000 in expensive men's suits and accessories that they threw in the back of a silver Mercedes.
The Pennsylvania license tag in the Boyd's case was reported as HVA-3721.
"We believe that it's probably just a mistake, one of the witnesses got the numbers wrong," Small said.
Police say the tag involved in Thursday's smash and grab is being sought by police outside the city for a number of felonies, but mysteriously it is not registered to anyone.
"We're pretty confident these individuals are committing more than one crime here in the city and may be related to other crimes just outside the city," Small said.
A press release had earlier listed the car as being stolen, but police now say that is not the case.
Police have secured surveillance video of Thursday's incident and are checking the bag that was dropped by one of the men for fingerprints and DNA.