JAMES CITY, VA (WWBT) – Surveillance video shows the entire crime and the getaway that led to Tuesday's police chase and crash. It also shows the frightening moments when the robbers, armed with guns, tied up employees at a jewelry store.
It was just before 11am Tuesday, at the Goodman and Sons Jewelers in James City County. Surveillance video captured a robbery in progress as two armed men walked into the store and immediately pointed their weapons at store employees.
"They also had some sort of pantyhose-type mask that was pulled up from their neck up to conceal their mouth and their nose," said Major Steve Rubino with James City County Police.
The suspects forced the three people inside the store into a back room. Their hands and feet were tied, but not before one of the store employees made a smart move.
"One employee had the peace of mind to set the alarm which in turn notified the police and chain of events," said Major Rubino.
As James City Police were on their way, the suspects took their time. One took a peek in the safe still keeping an eye on the hostages while the other opened the jewelry cases... cleaning them out of diamonds, Rolex watches and other jewelry. Once their bags were full you can see the suspects think twice about leaving out the front door as innocent bystanders walk past the jewelry store.
"The suspects fled out the back door," said Major Rubino. "There was a witness that reported seeing the suspects get into a black SUV type vehicle."
All day Tuesday a sign on the door told customers the jewelry store was closed due to the robbery. People shopping in the area could not believe a jewelry store robbery in James City would lead to a multi-jurisdictional police chase.
"It's pretty shocking. Nothing like this happens in this area," said one shopper.
Police tell us that the two men were spotted shortly after the robbery in that black SUV with a Pennsylvania license plate. That's when the chase began.
Police have confirmed that there have been several similar robberies like this all up and down the East Coast. They told us they cannot say just yet whether they think these two suspects are responsible.