Jewelry shop employee shot during robbery
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HIALEAH, Fla. (WSVN) -- Police are searching for the thieves responsible for shooting and injuring a jewelry store employee during a robbery.
The trio of bandits stormed into the ABC Jewelry Store, located at 3580 W 18 Ave., at around 6 p.m. Monday. On Tuesday, police released surveillance footage of the crooks in action, who had their faces covered by bandannas.
They stormed in and took an armed security guard by surprise. Pointing a gun at him, they forced him to the ground and disarmed him of his weapon. A couple inside shopping for wedding rings were also surprised by the men rushing in the store, brandishing guns. They hit the ground, as the crooks smashed showcases and stole handfuls of gold chains.
One of the store employees was reportedly shot during the robbery before sped off in a white Bentley. "One of my cousins got injured. That's as far as I know," said the victim's relative, Alberto Cruz.
Family members identified the victim as Alfredo Betancourt. He was shot once in the stomach.
Rescue crews transported Betancourt to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he remains in stable condition. According to the victim's relatives, none of his vital organs were hit.
Police said the robbery and shooting even surprised the jewelry store's armed security guard. His wife was emotional as she arrived at the scene, but she was told her husband was only disarmed by the gunmen, not shot.
Authorities called the trio brazen. They said the crooks shot Betancourt even though everyone inside the store at the time of the robbery cooperated with them and got on the ground, as they were told. "That's why we call it a hostile takeover," Hialeah Police Lieutenant Carl Zogby said. "A very, very dangerous situation. God knows what they're capable of if they face resistance. At least we know they shot one person. By all accounts, they really didn't get any resistance."
One woman said there is security inside the jewelry store, including cameras. Authorities also hope neighboring businesses had surveillance cameras that captured images of the suspects.
Hialeah Police are still investigating the shooting and searching for the suspects responsible, including the driver of the getaway car.
The shop re-opened for business on Tuesday.
If you have any information on this heist, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
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