Nine men assaulted the Eurochronos jewellery store in Multiplaza Escazu on Tuesday afternoon. Carlos Láscarez, La Nacion

Taking advantage of Halloween, several skull-faced thieves assaulted a high-end jewelry store in Multiplaza Escazu on Tuesday afternoon.

The police report says a total of nine assailants, dressed in black, hoods and painted faced entered the Eurochronos store on the upper level of the Multiplaza, smashed glass casings with mallets and made away with their loot in a white van waiting for them in the parking lot.

From Telenoticias

The video surveillance camera shows us that while several did the smash and grab, others were watching the main entrance to the store and the staff, who had run to the back of the premises for protection.

The preliminary report says the haul was more than ¢160 million colones (US$300,000 dollars).

‘Skinny and young’ is the description of the assailants of sales staff near the jewelry store.

“We saw a group of men dressed in black, skinny and young, they were well covered and running after they entered they heard that they broke glasses and hit something in a strong way, several of them were wearing skull masks and ‘sweaters’ with a hat. that covers the face,” a worker of a nearby store that preferred not to be identified, told La Nacion.

From Telenoticias

According to the woman, she and her co-worker opted to throw themselves on the floor and start praying. “They were there for about five minutes, the fear was that there would be a shootout and we would get hit by a stray bullet, I feel they took advantage of the day (Halloween), because it is very normal for people to be distracted,” she added.

An employee of another store pressed the so-called panic button to alert the security. “What I told my co-worker was that he should duck because we did not know what was going to happen,” said the clerk. She remembered that they saw the thieves leave with bags.

Apparent getaway vehicle caught on mall security camera

No one was injured in the assault, nor were any shots fired.  Authorities later learned the guns brandished by the assailants were toy guns in the apparently getaway vehicle, a white van,  found in front of Plaza Bulevar, on the way to Guachipelin, near Multiplaza.

Police recovered the apparently getaway vehicle some 600 meters from Multiplaza Escazu. Photo Alejandro Gamboa Madrigal.

This same jewellery store had been assaulted by four thieves on April 15 of last year. On that occasion, four armed individuals entered the shop and held the manager and three employees at gunpoint, and tied them up.

Multiplaza security said all safety protocols were complied with. An official of the Fuerza Publica noted that the mall security is good, but given it was Halloween, it was not out of the ordinary for mall patrons wearing costumes on Tuesday, thus the thieves did not seem out of place.

This is not the first time Multiplaza Escazu security has been fooled, however. Earlier this year a local prankster imitating Justin Bieber caused a commotion in the mall, confounding mall security.

Meanwhile, though authorities do not rule any connection, using the same m.o., two men entered the Tiempo Global jewellery store in Plaza Colonial, in San Rafael de Escazu. The thieves made out in a grey Mazda sedan.

Plaza Colonial and Multiplaza Escazu are less than 3 kilometers (2 miles) away.

The take between the two heists could be as high as US$2 million dollars, believes the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) investigating the two smash-and-grab robberies.


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