South Jersey police search for brazen antiques thief

LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. - March 26, 2014

Authorities released surveillance pictures of a man they say man helped himself to as many items as he could carry from the People's Store last week.

"We were horrified that somebody would come out and just do that within minutes," said one dealer.

It was Tuesday, March 18 around 5:00 p.m. when a man came through the front door of the Peoples store in Lambertville that is home to more than 50 antique dealers.

He wasn't there for long, but got away with almost $30,000 worth of jewelry stolen from two dealers.

Surveillance video shows the man opening a display case with some keys, reaching in several times and stuffing the items in his jacket, oblivious or indifferent to the warning sign taped to the glass.

"It's right in front of him so he actually saw this saying, 'Smile we are watching you,' and cameras are aiming right at him and he didn't care," said Store General Manager Jim Castelli.

The bold thief took gold, diamonds rubies and sapphires.

Neither of the dealers hit wanted to identify themselves, but one of them did speak with Action News.

"Extremely upsetting. Upsetting to all the dealers in the store, to think that somebody could go in a case and just help themselves," the dealer said.

Even more unusual: the thief locked up the case after he stole what he wanted.

"Every now and then something like this shows up and it reminds us we have to be on guard and we have to watch out," said antiques dealer Randall Wilson.

Neither of the dealers had insurance on the jewelry that was stolen.

The People's Store says it will offer a reward for information that leads to an arrest.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police.

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