Fake cops attempt to rob Center City jewelry store

PHILADELPHIA - July 16, 2013

It was all caught on surveillance video.

In the upper left corner of the screen, two men are seen walking into a Center City jewelry store looking like law enforcement officers.

The word 'police' can be seen on what appears to be bulletproof vests.

But these guys were not legit.

"You never know what's going to happen tomorrow," said store owner Ofer Yosef. "You see somebody who looks like an officer, and you respect them."

The real police say the men walked into Platinum Jewelers at 12th and Market Streets around noon Monday and tried to rob the place.

Yosef says in his 20 years, he's been hit before but never like this.

"Never, never," he said. "It's like police officers coming to you and robbing you. How are you going to feel?"

At first glance, one would think this crime was the work of just two men. But Philadelphia Police say it looks like they had some help.

20 minutes before the masked men entered the business, two customers, both seen in surveillance pictures wearing wigs, were shopping, at times on the phone.

Employees now believe they were speaking with the police impersonators, who were waiting for the signal to come in.

Once the robbers were inside, a female employee pressed the alarm. The man in the black vest moved behind the counter with his gun out.

But realizing they probably didn't have much time, the fake cops took off without getting a dime or one piece of jewelry.

Employees say all four men jumped into an older model gray Mercury Grand Marquis.

The car had a Pennsylvania tag that police figured out was stolen off another vehicle in Mount Airy.

Yosef praised his cool, calm and collected employees.

"They did the best they could do," he said. "I mean, they were 100 percent."

Copyright © 2023 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.