Police release jewelry store robbery footage

Robbers believed to be wearing burkas

Police have released footage of two men wearing what they believe to be burkas in a jewelry store robbery at York Mills Road and Leslie Street.

The robbery happened on Oct.14 at around 11 a.m., when two men entered Mona-Clara Jewellers. Police say one man pulled out a handgun and the other took a female employee to the door and locked it.

According to the police report, the other robber pointed a gun at a male employee, took a tray of jewelry out from behind a glass case and started to stuff jewelry into a large handbag.

It is estimated the suspects stole about $500,000 worth of jewelry, which included rings.

One of the robbers is described as black, 5-foot-11, said Detective Sergeant Mike Earl of the Toronto Police Hold-Up Unit. The other robber is described as 6-foot-3.

Both suspects were carrying large handbags, and one suspect had what Det. Sgt. Earl described as “shiny items on a dark sleeve.”

The suspects left the store through a back door where it is believed a getaway car was waiting.

Det. Sgt. Earl said that the burkas are just another disguise.

“It’s another way of disguising yourself. We’ve seen balaclavas and ski masks and we’ve seen scarves and bandanas,” Det. Sgt. Earl said. He added that a ski mask in mid-October might stand out, but a burka wouldn’t.

However, this is the first jewelry store robbery he’s seen where burkas were used as a disguise to rob a store in broad daylight. He says the biggest clue to solving this crime is the amount of jewelry stolen.

“We don’t have a lot of jewelry store robberies, someone getting their hands on a lot of jewelry at one time,” he said. “Hopefully someone or a retailer comes forward to say they purchased this amount of jewelry.”

“I wouldn’t put it past someone selling these items on Kijiji or eBay.”