This story was updated at 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013.
Three masked gunmen robbed Colonial Jewelers in downtown Frederick on Tuesday afternoon, spraying 10 store employees and customers with pepper spray, and smashing a glass display case to steal jewelry, according to city police.
About 1:30 p.m., three black males took merchandise from the store located at 1 S. Market St. before making a getaway in a black pickup truck, Frederick police Lt. Clark Pennington said.
“We have reports that there were firearms and handguns involved,” Pennington said.
He was unsure what items were taken from the store, and how much they were worth.
The suspects were wearing masks during the robbery, Pennington said.
Two of the suspects were wearing dark-colored clothing, and one was wearing a white hoodie, he said.
Employees and customers who were exposed to pepper spray were treated on scene. There were no other injuries. The first block of West Patrick Street was closed to traffic shortly after the robbery, but was reopened by 4 p.m. Tuesday, police said.
A nearby officer was the first to respond at about 1:30 p.m., a police report said.
Frederick City Police Chief Thomas Ledwell said that “there are similarities” between the incident and an armed robbery Monday at a Zales Jewelers in The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.
In that incident, four men wearing masks allegedly walked into the Virginia store, where two of the suspects used a hammer to smash display cases, according to The Washington Post. The men took 27 rings worth about $128,000.
Jeff Wright of Frederick said he was on his way to shop at the jewelry store when he saw police cars, a fire truck and an ambulance outside the Frederick store.
“I saw that and thought, ‘God I’m glad that I didn’t go in there,’” he said.
In surveillance footage provided by police Tuesday, three men in black masks can be seen robbing the jewelry store, while shoppers and employees lay on the floor.
Using what appears to be a mallet, one man in dark clothing can be seen breaking the glass of a display case and taking some merchandise before running out of the building.
Another man in white hoodie can be seen spraying pepper spray and taking items from the broken display case before leaving the store.
On Wednesday morning, a sign taped to the jewelry store doors read: “We will reopen Wednesday morning at 10 a.m.” Firefighters were on the scene ventilating the store before it was to open.
Patty Hurwitz, co-owner of the Colonial Jewelers said that it is hard for her to talk about the robbery.
“We’re trying to recover bit by bit,” she said. “Our staff is doing reasonably well.... We have a very close-knit staff.”
Hurwitz attributed the fact that no one was injured during the robbery to the staff’s professionalism and training.
“I’m just glad no one was hurt,” she said.
As of 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, Hurwitz said that employees were still cleaning up, but the store was “semi-open.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Cpl. A. Lapp at 301-600-6390 or contact the Frederick Police Department anonymously at 301-600-8477 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.