HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – For the first time, we're getting an up-close look at what's left following the brazen burglary of a popular West End jewelry store.
Beverly Hills Jewelers was closed Thursday, and may never re-open. After we got a look inside, we're beginning to understand why.
GARY: "You can see where they cut the safes…"
It must've taken so long to cut through all the steel, and concrete.
GARY: "And of course...it's totally empty now."
Owner Gary Baker was cleaned out. Gold, loose diamonds, estate pieces...all of it, gone...in what Gary described as an expertly planned takedown of his store's security methods both electronic and old-school.
"These are the type of people that could probably take a crack at Fort Knox," Baker said Thursday.
Gary got the call Tuesday morning that the place on Staples Mill Road had been ransacked. Instantly, it brought back memories of 1994. Newspaper reports at the time referenced an incident described as a "Hollywood Shootout"...the day Gary and a co-worker justifiably killed two would-be robbers right in this very place.
And there are still reminders of that day from 1994. A desk, for example, has a .38 caliber bullet hole. Also, 12 gauge buckshot on the drawers.
Those reminders are about all that's left now. Gary estimates millions of dollars worth of merchandise was stolen. And there was no insurance....Gary preferred to invest in security.
"I took measures that were so far beyond what a reasonable person would do," he said.
With no apparent way to recover the stolen goods, Gary says after 25 years in business, Beverly Hills jewelers will probably have to close.
"I don't know what I could've done to avoid what happened," he said.
Through it all, Gary says he's maintaining good spirits. What the burglars did, he said, was take a chunk of the future away from his children and grandchildren.
Henrico police say their investigation continues. But there's no video evidence, and no witnesses have come forward.