Suspects sought after smash-and-grab at Westchester Mall

N.J. Burkett has the latest details from White Plains.
White Plains Police officers converged on the Westchester Mall on Sunday fearing the worst. Three men had just used hammers to smash the display cases at Tourneau, and were last seen fleeing through the mall after a security guard tried to stop them.

Police said panicked shoppers ducked for cover after seeing the armed guard, who was wearing plain clothes, as he struggled with one of the robbers.

"People heard glass breaking and saw an unidentified man with a gun and scattered," said Public Safety Commissioner David Chong, "no shots were fired and no injuries have been reported."

The incident happened about 11:30 a.m. Chong said the police SWAT team responded to reports of a man with a gun. Chong said the mall was not evacuated, contrary to reports on social media, and resumed normal operations within a few moments after police determined that no shorts were fired and this was not an active shooter scenario.

Chong said three men carrying hammers entered the Tourneau store on Level 2 of the 135 Westchester Ave. mall, across from the Louis Vuitton store and next to an Armani Exchange outlet, were buzzed in and immediately began smashing display cases and grabbing expensive watches.

The store's security guard pulled his handgun and began to struggle with one of the robbers as the trio ran out of the store. All three managed to escape. It was unclear how much was stolen.

Chong said the store, which carries such luxury brands as Cartier and Patek Philippe that can sell for tens of thousands of dollars, has been the target of several thefts in the last few weeks. The New York-based Tourneau is one of the largest watch retailers in the world.

Julianna Sedlacko and Kristen Nicholson work at the cosmetics counter at Nordstrom, where workers and customers were herded into a back room for several minutes. Both women say a lockdown is virtually unheard of at the mall.

"No one looked alarmed, they handled it well," said Sedlacko.

Detectives were continuing to interview store employees and witnesses early Sunday afternoon. They were also reviewing video surveillance footage from the scene.

The store remained on lockdown and the showroom floor was littered with broken glass along with a black baseball cap that eyewitnesses said belonged to one of the robbers.

No injuries have been reported. The mall is currently open, but Tourneau remains closed.

The three men got away, and detectives are looking at surveillance video to try to capture the suspects.



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