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September 9, 2010

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Police seek 3 in armed robbery of jewelry store

Shanghai police were searching last night for three suspects who, witnesses said, robbed a jewelry store at gunpoint in a supermarket in Minhang District. No injuries or deaths were reported during the robbery.

"I was almost scared to death," Zhao Li, a witness who was shopping in the market and said he was only a meter away from the incident, told Shanghai Daily last night.

Zhao said he saw three people, all wearing masks, come to the store on the first floor of the E-Mart about 8:30pm yesterday.

"Each of them carried a gun and knife," Zhao said - although he could not tell if the guns were real or toys.

"Suddenly they used the butt of the guns and smashed the counter glass," said Zhao. "They took away jewelry like golden necklaces."

Zhao said the robbers even threw explosive-like devices to make smoke.

The whole robbery lasted about five minutes, Zhao said.

Zhao, together with dozens of others in the market, soon fled out.

"They did not point guns at us," he said. "Here's total chaos then."

He said police arrived about 10 minutes later and the supermarket and the nearby complex were cordoned off.

"At first I even thought they were shooting a police-and-bandit film," said Zhao.

The robbery was the second of its kind in recent years. Four men armed robbed
Shanghai Lao Miao Jewelry Co Ltd, a famous local jewelry brand, in March 2006 in suburban Jiading District.

They stole goods worth nearly 1 million yuan (US$147,150). The men were caught four days later. The leader was sentenced to death.


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