Designer jeans target in crash and grab

February 8, 2008 3:53:32 PM PST
A brazen pre-dawn crash and grab targeted an upscale clothing store on Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square this morning.Broken glass was swept outside as customers shopped inside the upscale Diesel clothing store on Walnut Street. Before the store opened, at about 6:00 Friday morning, two men backed a car through the store's plate glass window.

Dan Hancotte could not believe his eyes when he arrived to work at a construction site on 15th and Walnut. He and some coworkers saw two men smash through the Diesel Jeans Clothing store across the street and swipe $22,000 worth of merchandise.

"They backed up onto the sidewalk as if they were going to do a u-turn, and proceeded to smash through the glass in reverse. [They] hopped out of the car, opened up the trunk, ran inside, starting cleaning off shelves, returned to the vehicle, and took off," Hancotte said.

Police reportedly arrived in 30 seconds and chased the car until they lost it in morning traffic. Investigators are trying to determine if surveillance tapes can help them track the culprits.

This is the fifth crash and grab burglary on this same block of retailers and boutiques since December.

"There's another similar type smash and grab down the street. They're looking to see if connected. There's three at the same store going back to 2007. The connection though is unclear," Lt. Frank Vanore of the Philadelphia Police Department said.

The store was hit three times in January. Each time thousands of dollars worth of clothing was stolen. They were smash and grab operations, but cars were not used.

Police are looking over video surveillance from inside the store in the hopes they can get a clear identification of the suspects.

The car used in this instance is described as a tan, burgundy, or champagned color, 1980s Chevy Caprice.