D.C. smash-and-grab robbers claim $43K worth of jewelry

Two persons of interest in connection with a high-cost jewelry robbery. (Metropolitan Police Department)

WASHINGTON — D.C. police are investigating Thursday’s daring daytime smash-and- grab jewelry store robbery at the tony Mazza Gallerie in Northwest. But police may have a very helpful piece of evidence — a clear picture of the suspects.

Police say two men entered Pampillonia Jewelers around 12:40 p.m., pulled masks over their faces and then used a hammer and a hand weight to smash the display case holding diamonds.

Police say the thieves made off with three diamond bracelets, seven sets of diamond earrings and two diamond pendants. The loot has an estimated value of $43,000.

Moments before the thieves made their move, an alert mall employee noticed two men wearing gloves.

“It looked weird,” says the man, who asks not to be identified.

“They were acting kind of suspiciously.”

The man snapped a photo with his phone.

“They went straight into the Pampillonia Jewelry Store and the next thing, of course, we hear smashing and banging and stuff like that,” the man says.

He says he took two pictures of the men. Both were wearing hats and one was carrying a backpack.

The man says one of the photos is blurry, but “one is very, very clear.”

He says he gave the digital image to Dino Pampillonia, the store’s owner, who was present during the robbery.

But the would-be photographer wasn’t through yet.

One of the suspects lost his hat near the escalator as he fled the mall, the mall employee says.

“I picked the hat up, with a tissue, and I actually turned it into Pampillonia, as well,” he says.

Police are seeking two suspects. They are described as black males around 20 years old.

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