Police release video in Conestoga Mall heist
Waterloo Regional Police have released security video from a heist at the Raffi Jewellers store in the Conestoga Mall on Wednesday morning.
In the incident, four male suspects smashed display cases and fled with an unknown amount of jewelry.
In the surveillance video the suspects are wearing black parkas and all have their faces covered. They were last seen running from the mall and getting into a light-coloured van.
The thieves dispersed a noxious substance believed to be pepper spray while in the mall, forcing an evacuation and prompting some shoppers and employees to require medical attention for eye irritation.
Bob Brown was a police officer for 30 years, including 13 years as a detective, and now runs his own private investigation agency. He has been following the case.
He says, "I think they are very well organized. They are coming as a group, they are dispersing the crowd, such as with the pepper spray, causing panic, smashing glass, throwing things around. The sheer panic alone gives them the opportunity to do what they want to do and get in and out as quick as they can."
Police are examining whether the suspects may have spent a lot of time inside the stores to assess the scene before robbing them.
Waterloo Regional Police spokesperson Olaf Heinzel says "So we're going to encourage store owners to be very vigilant about anyone who's in their store at any time."
Police continue to investigate whether this robbery could be connected to heists at two jewelry stores in Kitchener's Fairview Park Mall in December as well as a robbery at a CashMax location on Weber Street.
Brown says police will likely also be investigating people who are known to traffic in stolen goods.
Brown adds, "I think any of the higher end jewelry is fencible and to sit on it is of no value. They're motivated by greed. They're motivated by a market so they have some avenue of getting rid of this product."
He also believes that while they are aware they could be caught, they are showing little fear, which means the thieves could get more brazen or consider using more weapons.