A group of thieves needed less than 30 seconds in a store at the Pentagon City mall to make off with 23 Rolex watches worth a total of about $609,000, officials said.
Shortly after 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the thieves entered the mall through a door on South Hayes Street. The group then went inside the Tourneau watch store, located near that entrance, and headed to the Rolex display case, according to Arlington police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
One of the thieves smashed the front side of the glass case with a hammer, and the culprits grabbed as many watches as they could before fleeing out of the store. The group then left the mall and escaped in a four-door, charcoal gray sedan with another person in it.
No one was hurt during the incident, and the culprits didn't interact with anyone else in the store.
"These individuals did not make any threatening remarks to anyone," Sternbeck said.
There were no Tourneau employees on the floor of the business at the time. A few employees were in the back of the store, and one employee was outside the store cleaning a class display case during the theft and yelled for people to call police, Sternbeck said.
The mall did not shut down because of the crime, and Sternbeck said that shoppers should not be concerned about their safety.
"The mall is still a safe location," he said.
The four culprits who went inside the Tourneau store were described as black males who wore gloves and had hoods over their heads and ski masks that concealed their faces. Three of the thieves were wearing dark clothing, and a fourth was wearing a red hooded jacket.
Anyone with information can contact Det. Paula Brockenborough at 703-228-4241 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS (8477).
Tuesday's heist was not the first smash-and-grab incident to take place at the Pentagon City mall this year. In early February, four men wearing ski masks and hoodies over their heads entered the Zales jewelry store and demanded that the employees evacuate, officials said. One of the men then smashed a display case with a hammer, and the group took 27 rings worth about $128,000.
Sternbeck said that police were investigating to see whether the two incidents are related.