"He told the dispatcher that he was walking past the jewelry store and he saw a bunch of guys with duffel bags in there filing up the bags with everything that was in the case," said Lt. Jason Kravetz, Laguna Beach Police Department.
Witnesses told the police dispatcher they saw the men leave the store and drive away in a white Ford Fusion.
A police cruiser spotted the suspect vehicle on the 73 toll road, heading south from El Toro Road. Police say the suspects got off at Aliso Creek Road, went through a red light around an SUV, and entered the Aliso Viejo Town Center.
All of the suspects jumped out of the car and ran into a parking structure near Enterprise Street. Police searched for them for three hours, but didn't find them.
During the pursuit, which lasted about two minutes, police suspect the men changed their clothes from black to white t-shirts. They say at least one of the suspects was armed.
The getaway vehicle was recovered and brought to the Laguna Beach Police Department.
"We did recover some of the jewelry in the car that we seized as evidence, but they got away with a vast majority of it," said Kravetz.
The suspects are described as three men in their early 20s.
The jewelry store clerk was shaken up, but unhurt.
Anyone with information in the case is asked to call Laguna Beach police at (949) 497-0377.