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DEVELOPING: $600K Smash and Grab Robbery at Mall

by ARLnow.com March 19, 2013 at 12:45 pm 4,965 105 Comments

A smash and grab robbery at the Tourneau store at Pentagon City mall on 3/19/13

(Updated at 2:50 p.m.) A group of robbers got away with $609,000 worth of Rolex watches in a smash and grab robbery at Pentagon City mall this morning.

According to police, four men wearing ski masks and gloves entered the Tourneau watch store, near the main S. Hayes Street entrance to the mall, around 10:30 a.m. The men smashed the front of a display case with a hammer, then grabbed 23 Rolex watches valued at $609,000, police said.

The men then fled, hopped in a getaway vehicle parked in front of the mall with an accomplice in the driver’s seat, and took off. The car was described as a charcoal gray, four-door sedan.

The entire robbery took less than 30 seconds, according to police.

No customers or employees were on the “floor” of the store at the time of the robbery. One employee who was cleaning the outside of the store yelled for someone to call police during the robbery. Five employees were in the back of the store, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

The crime is similar to another smash and grab robbery at the mall last month — during which 27 rings worth approximately $128,000 were stolen — but police so far have not been able to determine a definitive connection.

Surveillance video of the robbery is expected to be released at some point. Still images from the video are provided below.

Surveillance image of smash-and-grab robbery at Tourneau in Pentagon City mall (photo courtesy ACPD) Surveillance image of smash-and-grab robbery at Tourneau in Pentagon City mall (photo courtesy ACPD)

  • DCBuff

    5 employees in the back? None in the store? One out front? Unreal.

    • Bad customer service

      Seems about the norm these days, customer service wise.

      • Jim

        About the norm these days, inside job wise.

        • Grandstander

          Could be an inside job, more likely they just cased the store and saw a pattern. Not uncommon to have a coffee break around 10:30am in most stores/offices.

          • flux

            It’s not like the employees were going to stop them anyway.

          • David

            Unless they were armed, that is.

          • Scott

            What happens when the good guy (watch salesman) with a gun misses and shoot a kid outside the store by mistake? Is that okay because while firing his gun in a public space he meant to shoot a bad guy (who we do not know was armed)?

          • kalashnikev

            Good post. These are all variables to consider when responding to an attack.

          • Brian

            yeah…lets just have a shootout in the mall….that makes sense…

          • But it’s ok for a cop to shoot? Get Real.

          • Scott

            What are you talking about– who said that it was okay for a cop to shoot? Cops know to fire their weapon only if absolutely necessary & not in areas where they could hit bystanders; material stuff/ watches aren’t worth shooting anyone over. That’s why there is insurance. Cops don’t come to the mall and shoot at people who steal.

          • Mary Tsu

            Eventually some crazy methhead cop will come shooting into the mall where his estranged wife works, etc. What then?

  • ????

    Copycat or same group?

  • fedworker

    And the guy doing the smashing…left handed?

    • Clarendon Cruiser

      means he’ll have to get that watch band adjusted so his watch face is properly oriented.

  • OverDC

    Sounds like an inside job. Also there is usually a security guard guarding this store. Where was he? I hope all 5 of these people are fired and fined.

    • Mike

      The rent-a-cop was downstairs getting free samples at “Cajun” Grill.

    • Jim

      fined? LOL.

    • hmmm

      Security guard is in the pic. “What’d I miss?”

  • James Moron

    Anyone want to bet that one or more of the “employees” were “working” at the jewelery store last month?

    • Jim

      I “like” that “bet”, unusual “punctuation” guy.

      • James Moron

        Actually, the quotes indicated an implicit disbelief that they were actual employees or really working. It’s like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife. Get it?

        • JWH

          It’s like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife. Get it?

          You’re a 1990s female vocalist?

    • Moron is Right

      And this “employee” was “working” at his job last month. What is your point? That the store’s “employees” weren’t “new”?

      • James Moron

        No, the point is that I bet at least one of the employees was formerly employed by Zales during their unfortunate Hammer Time.

  • Scott

    Is there a homeless shelter in Pentagon city?

    • Ahhlington

      Except the homeless aren’t the ones doing stuff like this, genius.

      • Scott

        Oh, got it…

        • drax

          You got it, unlike Ahhhhhhhlington.

      • ARL

        Whoever the group is that’s doing stuff like this, let us know so we can ban them from the County too, ‘kay?

    • Bob

      Nope, just an underground subway. De Green Line.

  • Curious

    Nobody was watching the watches? I guess they didn’t have the time.

    • squidgod


    • Father Time

      At least we can take comfort in knowing that the thieves will die.

    • jack33w

      OOPS! No employees were on the “floor” of the store. Let me guess…

  • John Fontain

    Obviously, the liberals are to blame.

    • SomeGuy

      Cyclists, John. Usually it’s the cyclists with you. Stick to the script.

      • John Fontain

        You’re right. It’s the fault of the liberal cyclists.

    • kalashnikev

      Actually… they are.

      • Hank

        You just blew my mind!

  • JamesE

    $26.5k per watch? and I thought Omega’s were expensive.

    • Jim

      Something’s wrong with the math in this story. Or, Torneua’s best profit margin is in insurance claims.

    • Jeff

      The thieves must have really known what they were looking for. There are Rolex models that are that expensive (and far more expensive), but the vast majority sell for less than $10k

      • Impressed

        People on this site really have an extensive knowledge of high-end BMWs and watches!

        • BlueSkies

          Agreed – I’ve learned a lot about the cost of luxury items this week.

      • J22C

        Check the footage a few days before..someone obviously cased the joint.

    • fatkidspecial

      yea, this estimate seems pretty inflated. most rolex’s are in 5-20k range. i guess if they had a couple that were in the 50-100k range that’d bump it up a bit, but can’t imagine those were out in a case vulnerable to smash and grab. also this figure undoubtedly reflects their retail price, which at jewelry stores is usually far and above what people actually pay. still, the shop sounds like a pretty amateur operation.

    • flux

      It’s not out of the question that they had some cadillac models on display along with the standards. I paid a little over $5K for mine back in the early 90’s. Very basic datejust, steel case, plain gold bezel with the two-tone bracelet. I’m sure prices have gone up a little. Throw in a couple chronos, or all gold day/dates with gems in the bezels or dial and you’re getting in the neighborhood.

  • OX4

    Where is this place in the mall? I’m imagining the getaway car having to stop to insert a prepaid parking ticket into the booth on the way out of the garage.

    • Sara

      It’s right by the front door on the first floor (the floor above the food court). There is a circular drive where cars can pick up and drop off. Assuming that’s where the getaway car was waiting.

      • OX4

        Ahhh…probably not the best place for a jewelry store then.

      • FrenchyB

        Strategically located near the Ritz-Carlton.

    • Jim

      Getaway cars don’t park in controlled garages.

  • MC 703

    Smash and Grab will be to 2013 what bank robberies were to 2012. Gonna be a wild summer!

  • Johnny Utah

    Jewerly store Smash’n’Grabs are the new hottness. Bank robberies are so 2012.

    • MC 703

      Beat ya by 11 min

  • Ahoy Polloi

    Obviously proletarian smash-n-grabbers who drive leased BMWs and Audis, they should’ve gone for the Audemars Piguets

  • Roger Federer

    Who goes to the mall to buy a $26,000 watch?

    • Joke o Veech

      definitely not a guy that sells monogrammed warmups, that’s who (doesn’t)

    • ARL

      Who buys a $26,000 watch at all?

      I wouldn’t spend that much if I were a billionaire. Just seems dumb. It’s just a shiny thing that tells you what time it is.

      • Westover

        There are a surprisingly large number of wealthy tourists that shop at Pentagon City after hours and spend/waste such amounts of money on such watches.

        • kalashnikev

          +1 Those stores rely on the uneducated consumer making an impulse buy when they have the item right in front of them. I went in to check out a vintage Sub they had in the far left window (best one) and they were crazy high.

    • kalashnikev

      Someone interested in overpaying on an $18K watch.

    • They were probably solid gold Rolex President’s or Yachtmasters. Thanks to the federal reserve and President Printing Press, the inflated price is the value of the gold, not the watch.

      • Not exactly….there is a premium for workmanship.

        • Trev

          When someone buys a Rolex, it’s for the brand name. An automatic Seiko is just as reliable and accurate.

  • flash

    I wonder what their description will be….what a joke

  • flASH

    start choping their hands off and i bet we see a decline in robberies and stealing.

    • Scott

      I hear its lovely in Iraq this time of year.

    • speonjosh

      I hear Sudan has some job openings you might be interested in. Enjoy your two hours of electricity a day, cold showers, and raw sewage in the gutters. But at least you’ll feel morally superior. Woo hoo!!

  • flASH

    btw that mall is a dump, the people that just loiter around and not spending any money sitting at the food court eating fried chicken and chinese food. just a big drain on our society

    • Yeah

      Unless they stole the “fried chicken and chinese food,” they’re actually CONTRIBUTING to the economy. Do you see how that works?

    • Eric

      What? The Arlington meals tax pays for million dollar bus stops.

  • confused

    wait a minute – they used a GETAWAY car? Not the metro? Doesn’t that interfere with a common meme?

    • BlueSkies

      It does! Wow, I just don’t know what to think.

    • Clarendon Cruiser

      their Federal Metro Transit Benefits went away with the sequester…

    • Atticus Fisticuffs

      Just think if they had the trolley available

      • Big Hock

        Good one.

    • Trev

      Same thing the last smash and grab bandits did. Getaway car out front. With Pentagon City’s proximity to Rt. 1 and 395 it’s a simple escape.

  • NVRTrustDisqus

    It’s an act from the fund raising arm of the Federal Employees Liberation Front…a Robinhood type secret society on a mission to restore the status of the downtrodden, abused federal employees! bwaaaahaaaaaaahahaahahahhahh

    • mildly amusing

      Try harder.

      • duddlepuck

        County board raising money for 60% of a trolley stop?

        • Mary Tsu


    • Clarendon Cruiser

      Disgruntled Arlington Moms trying to raise money for Arlington’s Child Care Program?

  • Clarendon Cruiser

    “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” – Juvenal

  • James Moron

    Are those guys playing duck duck goose in the picture?

  • fatkidspecial

    i’m not trying to point fingers or say anything political here. really could care less if some over priced jewelry store w/ an amateur security setup got jacked… just playing the odds. you disagree w/ the weighting?

  • Jim

    Short for racism, you mean

    • Westover

      Not racism when statistics back it up

    • Atticus Fisticuffs

      How is it racism? If anything it would be locationism. He didnt state that they were a certain race.

    • fatkidspecial

      why are you so eager to launch accusations of racism…? cry wolf too many times and no one listens. and how are we suppose to address things if we disregard data/probability as simply being racist? Fewer than 60% of DC public school students graduate on time… but shhh.. that’s racist to even discuss. over the last ten years dc’s homicide rate has been roughly 50x that of arlington’s. but wait, we can’t acknowledge that either, because someone will always be ready to heave an unfounded charge of racism. get a grip. this is a big boy/girl world. you’ve got to be pretty ignorant to see racism in numbers, the situation and data is always far more complicated than skin color. if you don’t see that and simply grasp onto the idea that any discussion of stats and demographics is inherently racist, you’re only limiting yourself.

      • Scott

        Okay– so not racism. What are you actually suggesting as a solution with your posts?

        • fatkidspecial

          guards at the off ramps, armed to the teeth.

          seriously tho, it was the discussion of geographic data and the close proximity of so many jurisidictions that lead to creation of CARFTF, which has been extremely successful in removing criminals from the streets by improving communication, coordinating and sharing resources, and tracking criminals across the capital region. not sure of the stats for arlington, but think this release by Gov. Carcetti’s office illustrates the point… http://www.goccp.maryland.gov/msac/documents/FactSheets/Cross-border-Information-Sharing.pdf

        • Mary Tsu

          Need to agree on a definition of the problem before can start proposing solutions.

  • Oh fer Pete’s sake

    And the rationale behind NOT putting $600K worth of jewelery behind unbreakable glass is what, exactly?

  • Inside job? What are the chances that all five employees are in the back?

  • J22C

    This just feeds the fire that Arlington should redevelop Ballston Mall and make it the nicest mall in the area and get the corner stores back to it.

    It’s just too easy for thieves to get to DC from Pentagon City Mall and across the river before the ACP can do anything.

  • Trev

    Was this a “Crime Free Zone?” It could have been prevented if we had only banned crime from the area!

    • Mysteriously Unnamed

      Crime Free zones all around!

  • bender

    **No customers or employees were on the “floor” of the store at the time of the robbery.**

    Then it wasn’t a robbery. It was grand larceny. Maybe burglary too, but that would be a stretch.

  • Keyser Soze

    4 perps – ski masks. Hmmm.
    Arlington County Board members, seeking funding source for the next Pike Super Stop??

  • Spilio

    I’m glad we’re funding an $80M aquatics center but cutting back on law enforcement funding.

    More free watches.


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