Distraction Robbery Hits Jeweler for $500K in Rings

LAGUNA HILLS Security cameras at a Laguna Hills jewelry store captured images of a suit-wearing thief grabbing $500,000 in wedding and engagement rings Friday while two accomplices distracted clerks.

Although the store was open during the mid-day heist, clerks weren't aware of the theft until 45 minutes later, said sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino.

When they checked the security cameras, they saw one man sneak behind a counter and open a case with a set of keys while two other men chatted up store clerks.

The man in the suit took four minutes unloading several sets of wedding and engagements rings, and then made escaped unnoticed, according to the videotape.

Images from the security cameras were made public Tuesday.

The heist is similar to two recent robberies at jewelry stores in Victorville -- where a set of keys was stolen -- and in Riverside, Amormino said.

A video image from a security camera shows one of three suspects in the $500,000 robbery at about 11 a.m. Friday at Kevin's Jewelers in Laguna Hills Mall.