WALNUT CREEK --A 17-year-old girl was shopping with a friend at a Broadway Plaza shoe store Tuesday afternoon when she heard a car honking wildly in front of the store, and looked outside to see a man jumping quickly out of the noisy vehicle.
"I thought maybe there was a fight over parking," said the Martinez resident, who the paper is not naming because of her age. "Then I saw in the jewelry store that two guys were robbing the place."
The Davidson & Licht jewelry store at 1258 Broadway Plaza was robbed of more than half a dozen Rolex watches at 2:28 p.m., after two men sprayed employees with pepper spray then smashed display cabinets and the front door with a sledgehammer, Walnut Creek Police Lt. Lanny Edwards said.
"A guy who seemed to be the owner was using his body to try to block them from going out," the girl said. "At this point, I'm realizing there's a robbery going on."
Sometime during the brief incident, which police said lasted maybe a minute, a third man ran to the door and pulled on the handles but was unable to get in while the employee was holding the door shut, Walnut Creek Police Sgt. Mike McLaughlin said. The man returned to the car, an Infiniti SUV. He was "honking the horn and creating quite a commotion, as if to tell them to hurry up," said the girl.
The two armed robbers then ran out of the store to Broadway Plaza, where the SUV was waiting for them, police said.
The quick-thinking teen pulled out her cellphone and captured a clip of the SUV speeding away, just long enough to capture a complete shot of the getaway vehicle, which had its license plates removed. The police arrived not 60 seconds later. The girl also turned the video over to officers to help in their investigation.
One customer and several employees were in the store at the time of the robbery and were not seriously injured by either of the weapons, McLaughlin said. One employee got a "pretty good dose" of pepper spray but declined medical treatment.
No store security was on staff at the time of the robbery, McLaughlin said. Store managers at Davidson & Licht declined to comment Tuesday afternoon.
Police expanded upon their suspect description Wednesday after viewing surveillance tapes, identifying the two armed robbers as black males in their 20s, about 5 feet 9 to 5 feet 10 inches tall with a thin build.
"One of their hoodies came down during the robbery," Edwards said Wednesday. "We were able to confirm their race through those tapes."
The man armed with the sledgehammer was wearing a black hoodie sweatshirt, gray cargo pants, black and white sneakers and gloves. The man with the pepper spray was wearing a white hoodie sweatshirt, bluejeans, black and white sneakers, a black beanie and gloves.
The getaway vehicle, a newer model Infiniti FX35 with a silver roof rack and silver alloy rims, was originally reported as being black, but upon viewing the cellphone footage may be a dark purple, police said. A description of the third man, who was seen on Broadway Plaza surveillance footage driving the car, was not immediately available.
Anyone with information about this incident may contact Walnut Creek police at 925-943-5844.