CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Mall officials say a jewelry store inside the Northlake Mall has been temporarily shut down after thieves smashed a glass case and took off with merchandise.
According to officials, three people came into Fink's Jewelers inside the mall on Wednesday afternoon, smashed a display case using two mallets, and stole an unknown amount of jewelry.
Investigators say it happened quickly.
Detectives say the men were intent on stealing jewelry. No weapons were shown. No shots were fired.
"They didn't say anything to anybody" say Lt. Brian Foley. "They went straight to the jewelry case, broke the glass open and stole the jewelry we talked about."
Store employees had to clean up broken glass while trying to do an inventory.
Investigators say the scene was a first for the mall.
"We've not had a situation where someone came in and physically broke open a case and took items while the store was open. This is the first time" says Lt. Foley.
Lt. Foley believes the three men have probably visited the mall before and looked for ways to get in and out.
A CMPD helicopter hovered above the mall while officers on the ground searched the area around the mall.
"We are currently looking at a vehicle of interest we've recovered close to the crime scene" Lt. Foley says.
Officers were seen near a minivan that was parked in a restaurant's lot.
Investigators believe the three men had a getaway driver waiting, and left the mall in a second vehicle - described as small SUV that is blue, silverish blue in color.
The first man is described as a black male, approximately 25 years old, 6'0" tall with an average build. He was wearing a black shirt, black pants and sneakers.
The second man is described as a black male, approximately 20 to 30 years old, 6'0" tall with a medium build. He was wearing a white t-shirt, camouflage shorts and sneakers.
The third man is described as a black male, approximately 25 years old, 6'0" tall with a medium build. He was wearing a grey and black shirt, black shorts and sneakers.
The sounds of the breaking glass was mistaken as gunshots and someone called 911 to report shots fired inside the mall, police told WBTV.
Officers were called to the mall, but say no shots were actually fired. No one was injured in the incident.
The manager of Northlake says the store will remain closed until investigation complete.
Anyone with information about this case or the men is asked to call Crimestoppers at 704-334-1600.