PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (April 22, 2014) – Four masked men stormed a West Michigan jewelry store Tuesday, setting off a massive manhunt.
But first, they faced the guns of the owners of Paul Medawar Fine Jewelry.
“We told them ‘We have guns, we will shoot you. Leave, we will shoot you. Leave,’” David Medawar said he yelled at the suspects while recalling the horrific event.
Around 12:40 p.m Tuesday, robbers armed with a gun and a hammer entered the store on Plainfield Avenue NE near 5 Mile and began smashing glass, targeting big-ticket items like Rolexes, then went for the safe.
Medawar says staff saw the suspects coming and four employees fled to their safe room, but one was grabbed by a suspect.
The robbery triggered a manhunt, sending Northview Schools into lock down as police dog units and SWAT team members scoured nearby homes and garages. Kent County Undersheriff Jon Hess says the K-9 units arrived very quickly and found a track, but no suspects.
FOX 17 spent time with the Michigan State Police in their helicopter as they searched the area surrounding the jewelry store for any sign of the masked gunmen.
“These stupid robbers don’t understand that there are police across the street almost at all times at the fire station,” Medawar said.
It’s an eerily similar situation as when the store was robbed in 2010, pushing the Medawar’s to take measures to protect themselves.
Medawar says when the store was robbed in 2010, they felt helpless. So they took firearm classes through the Kent County Sheriff’s Department.
“So, your life changes and we said, ‘We’re gonna get trained, we’re gonna learn to protect ourselves so we`re not victims anymore,’” he said.
And that’s what they did Tuesday. They fired at the robbers when their warnings were ignored. Police say one of the suspects may have been hit.
Just hours after the armed robbery, a jewelry store on the east side of the state in West Bloomfield was also robbed. West Bloomfield Police say the heist at Tapper’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry had some similarities. A handgun was used as well as a hammer. The thieves were also targeting Rolexes. There were no injuries and no shots fired during that armed robbery. The suspects are believed to have taken off in a dark Chrysler minivan.
Police have surveillance video of that armed robbery and say they will be enhancing it to see if the two robberies are related.