Armed bandits bound jewelry store employees

WILMINGTON - November 1, 2011

Jim Stein, the owner of Stuart Kingston Jewelers in Wilmington, says four men armed with guns and hammers barged in Tuesday afternoon and cleaned out the store's cases.

"They seemed to be very well schooled on what they were going to do," Stein said.

The men bound four employees with duct tape, including his 38-year-old son.

Stein escaped out a back door and ran to Pennsylvania Avenue to flag down an officer.

That help never came so Stein made a heroic move to go back in.

"When I came back in, that's when they came at me with raised hammers and started screaming at me," Stein said.

Stein says the robbers chased after him, but once outside, they took off in a rental van with the price of $19.95 on the side, similar to a U-Haul van.

A Good Samaritan followed the men, but lost them on I-95 North near the Blue Route.

People have to ring the bell to get into the business. Stein says one robber stood at the door pretending to be a potential customer while the other three were out of sight. They waited for the door to open and rushed in.

Police haven't released surveillance video of the crime.

Cameras captured a facial image of the first man at the door, but the rest were wearing masks.

Stein says the men knew the location of the valuables and the vault.

"From what I understand from police, they do surveillance and find out where the really good stuff is," Stein said.

Police haven't figured out the dollar amount of the theft, but it will be high which is why the FBI has also been called in to investigate.

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