Robbers in Middle Eastern disguise steal $110,000 in jewelry

- The FBI is looking for two people responsible for a bold jewelry store robbery last week in Rockville.

FOX 5’s Emily Miller obtained exclusive video of the crime. It shows two suspects disguised in what appears to be fake Middle Eastern clothing robbing a jewelry store of more than $100,000 in gold.

The Van Jewelry Store was open for business last Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. when the robbery happened. As seen in store surveillance video, a man wearing a fake beard and a white cap went straight to the store’s owner with a gun. He told the owner and his sister to put their hands up in the air.


“I said to them, 'Don’t hurt anybody here, okay? You want anything, you take and you go,'" said store owner Huy Nguyen.

The accomplice, dressed in a burka with only his eyes showing, started grabbing jewelry out of the unlocked cases. 

The sister tried to get help from a passerby.

“I see somebody, they go by, but they don't see me. So, he look at me, he look at the door, and he say I have to lay down,” said Nhi Tran.

The owner and his sister were told to get to their knees, out of sight from the door. The thieves took all of the heavy and valuable 14 karat gold pieces. They left with a haul worth about $110,000, authorities said.

As the owner called 911, his sister ran to see where the robbers went.

“I run out to the door, but I just stay in the store -- not go outside because I know they have the gun,” Tran said.

A getaway driver was waiting in an older model white Honda or Toyota with temporary plates, according to the store owner’s sister.

The FBI is working with Montgomery County police on the case. The fake Middle Eastern clothing aspect is unique.

“Many people use many different types of disguises. This is certainly a first for me,” said Detective Edward Drew with the Montgomery County Police Department.

Police say they have gone to some pawn shops. They hope that some of the jewelry might lead to the suspects.

“Approximately 50 pendants that are pretty identifiable. They are all circular, just bigger than a quarter, and they have different flags from different nations on them,” said Drew.

The store’s owner, who came to the U.S. from Vietnam, said this was the first robbery in 24 years at this store.

Montgomery County police are looking for witnesses from the mall or perhaps a costume store that sold the disguises.

The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

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