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Simi Valley schools locked down after jewelry store robbery

December 6, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
An intense search for three armed robbery suspects in Simi Valley forced the lockdown of three schools in the area on Tuesday.

Three African-American male suspects allegedly robbed 5 Star Jewelry on the 1900 block of Sequoia Avenue at 10:38 a.m.

Store owner Jaboub Ausses said the three men demanded he hand over jewelry. They allegedly threatened him with pepper spray.

The owner attempted to pull out a gun, but a scuffle ensued. No shots were fired.

The suspects fled the scene in a white van that was later found by police abandoned about 2 miles away on the 900 block of Appleton Rd.

Witnesses reported seeing the suspects, believed to be armed, fleeing on foot.

Police responded to the scene within four minutes and began a suspect search with air and ground units and K-9 dogs.

Two suspects were found hiding in a back yard in a residential neighborhood.

Police continued to search for the third suspect Tuesday afternoon. The third suspect was considered armed and dangerous.

Crestview Elementary School, Mountain View Elementary School and Hillside Middle School were locked down as a precaution. Parents were asked not to pick up their children until they are notified.

The three schools on lockdown were allowing controlled release of students to parents.

The store owner said the suspects took at least $100,000 worth of jewelry.

"I struggled with them. They walked in and I knew I was in trouble," said Ausses. "I was fighting, blood all over, they punched me all over the face.

"They got away with a lot of bracelets, the whole tray, ladies' bracelets, men's bracelets, earrings, diamond rings," he said.

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