Riverside robbers use flowers, balloons to steal $1.5 million in jewelry

RIVERSIDE – Riverside police were reviewing surveillance video today in the hope of identifying two robbers who came into a jewelry store carrying flowers and balloons and left with most of the inventory, which was valued at $1.5 million.

The owner of Wholesale Jewelry Exchange was left tied up in his shop at 570 E. La Cadena Drive for nearly three hours after Saturday’s roughly 4 p.m. takeover robbery, according to broadcast reports from the scene.

His car and cellular telephone, which the robbers took, were found about a mile away, Riverside police said.

It was unclear how much video would help, since the robbers also wore masks. Taken were diamonds and other gems, as well as gold and silver.

”This was a violent takeover and robbery, and to go to the extent of using a weapon and tying the (owner) down and ransacking the store,” Riverside police Lt. Mark Rossi said, speaking at the scene.

Some friends eventually found the owner tied to a chair. He was unhurt, police said.

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