Federal authorities are charging four men with robbing high-end jewelry and watch stores in three states of more than $1 million in merchandise after two of the men were nabbed for a brazen broad-daylight robbery at a Cartier store in Manhattan.
The four men allegedly worked together to rob a jewelry store at the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, a jewelry store in Richmond, Va., and another store in Cranford, N.J., according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan.
"It took sophisticated, modern crime-fighting techniques to tie the heists together," FBI Assistant Director George Venizelos said in a statement. "Today, we see the result of diligent work by law enforcement from Virginia to New York to stop this violent, skilled crime syndicate."
Then, on the day of the robbery, they would enter the store during business hours and smash the display cases with hammers, grabbing watches and other items, and then exit the store within minutes.
After the July 2013 robbery at the Borgata, DNA was recovered from broken glass that was matched to two of the suspects, authorities said.
In that case, investigators said three men walked into the store at about 8:45 p.m., smashed display cases and stole Rolex watches worth about $200,000.
In the Virginia jewelry store robbery last August, three men entered the jewelry store at about 2:45 p.m., while one stayed outside as a lookout. One of the suspects began smashing a display case and grabbed watches inside while another robber used a stun gun on a woman working in the store. The suspects fled with more than $100,000 in merchandise.
Two of the suspects were arrested by the NYPD on Jan. 30, the day of the Cartier robbery in midtown. Both were wearing Cartier watches matching those stolen that day. One of the men was also wearing a knit cap and a down jacket that matched clothing worn by one of the Cartier robbers.
In that robbery, the suspects entered the store at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street at about 12:30 p.m. and made off with 16 watches.