ORLANDO, Fla. -- Seventeen watches worth more than $340,000 vanished after sledgehammer-wielding thieves bashed open display cases and grabbed handfuls of Rolexes and other luxury timepieces just after 6 p.m. Thursday at Mayors Jewelers in the Florida Mall, deputies say.
- Three young adults, one teen accused of grand theft and other charges
- Smash-and-grab thieves concealed faces behind sweatshirt hoods
- Employees told deputies they thought they were going to die
Lorenzo L. Caldwell, 20; Shameia S. Dorsey, 20; and Torren L. Johnson, 21; are accused, along with a 17-year-old boy, in the smash-and-grab at Florida Mall, 8001 S. Orange Blossom Trail, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
A store employee told investigators she had just finished assisting a customer when the suspects entered the store and headed straight to the Rolex display.
The watches ranged in value from a men's watch worth $17,100 to another men's watch - this one with diamonds -- worth $39,400.
The total value of the stolen watches was reported at $342,700. The damage to the display cases was estimated at $5,000.
"The males began smashing the display cases and grabbed multiple Rolex watches," the report said.
Then they ran out of the store. The witness said she couldn't see their faces "because they were all wearing hoodies and partially blocking their faces," according to the report.
A different employee called 911 when she heard glass smashing while she was putting a customer's watch in an envelope in a back office.
A mall security officer told an investigator she spotted a four-door, black Chrysler parked in a no-loading zone on the south side of the mall. She approached the driver and told him to move the vehicle.
"The male pulled away and drove around the parking lot. A few moments later, the car pulled back around, when" the mall officer spotted suspects running out of the back exit corridor near Mayors.
They were all wearing "hoodies" and holding the front pockets of the hooded sweatshirts. After they got into the black Chrysler, they sped off, heading south toward Macy's. The mall officer caught the first three numbers of the vehicle's temporary tag. That information was relayed to dispatch.
A deputy spotted a car matching the description of the getaway vehicle near Landstreet Road and S. Orange Blossom Trail. Other patrol vehicles, as well as the sheriff’s office helicopter, assisted.
The car was stopped near Old Winter Garden and Hiawassee roads. Four people were removed from the vehicle.
They were interviewed at the Sheriff's Office headquarters on West Colonial Drive, according to the report.
The next section of the report, about a sentence, was blacked out.
"Sgt. Tim Nazzarro was able to locate (17) of the watch pillow cases, along with some gloves and clothing," the report said. "Sgt. Nazzarro returned the watch pillow cases to Mayors' manager Christopher Bass. The other items were given to Det. Thurston, in which he placed them into evidence."
The suspects are accused of grand theft over $100,000 and criminal mischief.
The adult suspects were being held at the Orange County Jail late Friday.
The 17-year-old suspect was taken to the county's juvenile assessment center. We are not identifying the teen, a minor, in accordance to Spectrum News' crime guidelines.