Three masked thieves pulled a brazen Christmas Day smash and grab, busting into a West Side diamond shop and making off with up to $100,000 dollars in jewels, police and sources revealed Wednesday.
The heist at the shuttered shop has all the hallmarks of a well-planned job, sources said.
The suspects' brilliant plot unfolded just before 5 p.m. Saturday, as the men broke into nail salon on the ground-floor of a W. 23rd St. building and then climbed to the roof.
From there, they hopped to the roof of the neighboring building, which houses Ultra Diamonds within a Burlington Coat factory on the first floor.
Though the door on the roof is alarmed, it appeared to be unlocked at the time of the heist, police sources said.
The man scampered down the stairs to the first floor, and then used a sledgehammer to burst a hole in the wall directly behind the Ultra Diamonds' jewelry counter, which sits amid the coats.
Once inside the suspects stole jewels from glass showcases - busting them with hammers - and a safe, then fled through the same hole they had entered, police said.
"These guys were good," said a Burlington Coat Factory employee who did not give his name but called the thieves "Grinches."
"They were f---ing good," the employee said. "This had to be planned well in advance."
To cover their tracks, the suspects broke the store's security video cameras - but missed one. The NYPD released video from the camera early Wednesday.
Investigators, meanwhile, have been poring over surveillance video from cameras on nearby buildings to see if the suspects had been casing out the shop in the days before breaking in.
Police are also exploring the possibility the job was orchestrated by a disgruntled employee or ex-employee, the NYPD sources said.
Detectives did not initially believe the break-in was connected to other recent downtown jewelry heists, sources said. Ultra Diamonds employees repaired the empty jewelry cases and aimed to re-open by Thursday, a corporate spokesman said.
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