Robbers pull off daylight jewelry heist in Indiana

Armed robbers made off Tuesday with a large number of diamond rings from a Hobart, Ind., jewelry store, The Times, the local newspaper of Northwest Indiana reports.

Hobart, Ind., police reportedly said four young white men, at least one blond and well-dressed, pulled off the heist about 10:15 a.m. at Helzberg Diamonds. They were reportedly armed.

It appears the robbers did not take any cash, opting instead for jewelry from the store located on U.S. 30, east of the Westfield Shoppingtown Southlake, the newspaper reports.

Police reportedly said the display cases were not damaged, and the store initially appeared undisturbed. As of Tuesday afternoon, police did not have an estimated value on the jewels taken, other than to say the total cost was “big.”

The robbers reportedly took employees to a back room, forced them to lie on their stomachs, and bound their hands behind their backs with what police described as plastic strips similar to the disposable handcuffs used by police in riot situations.

One employee escaped the ordeal, having left before the robbers arrived to make a pick-up from a local Dairy Queen, the newspaper reports. When she returned a short time later, police already were on the scene.

The robbers also made off with the store’s video cassette recorder containing a security system tape, the newspaper reports. However, they did not go unseen.

The robbers fled in a Ford Crown Victoria that police located about 2 p.m. at a nearby Cracker Barrel restaurant. Police reportedly said a security video from the restaurant shows the suspects dropping off the car and getting into two other vehicles, the newspaper reports. They appear to be wearing body armor in the video, he reportedly said.

The vehicles appeared to be a white Ford pickup truck and a gold four-door sport utility vehicle, possibly a Chevrolet Tahoe. Police reportedly said they’re worried that the video showed two of the suspects getting into the back of the truck. If an officer stops the truck without knowing the suspects are in the back they could be in danger.

Police reportedly said the abandoned car at Cracker Barrel was reported stolen Monday from Merrillville, Ind. When police found it, the plates had been changed to those of a vehicle registered in Indianapolis. Technicians were working to recover evidence from the car.

Any information on the robbery should be directed to the Hobart Police Department Detective Bureau at (219) 942-3406 or (219) 942-9622.