Altobelli Jewelers ‘Robbed’ During Heist

Those in the industry who watched the March 22 premiere of the NBC television series Heist saw one of Hollywood’s most recognizable stores and owners get some significant airtime.

Heist is the story of a professional thief who assembles an expert team of career criminals to attempt one of the biggest heists in history. Their plan is to simultaneously rob three of the most renowned jewelry stores on Beverly Hills’ famed Rodeo Drive during Academy Awards week.

The show begins with the characters Mickey O’Neil (played by Dougray Scott) and James Johnson (Steve Harris) looking on as police take eight minutes to get to a jewelry store whose alarm Johnson has tripped. The thieves repeat the process, timing the police response each time. When the cops take 26 minutes to respond, the thieves know they’ve officially cried “wolf.” The next step is to break in through a glass door and steal a talisman valued at $8,000.

The store was Altobelli Jewelers, a fixture in North Hollywood. The owner, Cos Altobelli, makes a cameo appearance in the episode leading police around the store, in a nonspeaking role, the morning after the theft.

Altobelli said he enjoyed being part of the episode, but it entailed a good deal of work. “It was a lot of fun, but also tiring,” he told JCK. “Due to security, I had to be there around the clock. I went without sleeping for 28 hours. They were there for three days, and it was not surprising to see that they only used about 15 minutes of it.”

It also was quite messy. “They put in a breakaway glass,” he says, referring to the way the robbers broke into the store. “They had to do it three times. Then they reinstalled the real one.”