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Millions in jewels stolen from south OC store

February 24, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
It reads like a movie script. Thieves pulled a daring heist in San Juan Capistrano, making off with a huge safe and a million dollars' worth of jewelry.The jewelry heist was obviously planned in great detail and it was carried out to perfection. In San Juan Capistrano where detectives are looking for clues.

Investigators dust for fingerprints hoping to identify the burglars who stole about a million dollars' worth of jewelry from Mission Jewelers in San Juan Capistrano.

"This type of operation took a lot of planning," said Jim Amormino, Orange County Sheriff's Dept. spokesman.

The suspects entered the jewelry store through an unoccupied business next door by tunneling through the wall. It happened Tuesday night.

"The way it happened is bizarre. This is trippy stuff," said Butch Hewitt, San Juan Capistrano resident. "These guys knew what they were doing. That's all I can say."

Authorities say the burglars knew what to do to try to keep from being caught.

"We have phone lines cut, burglar alarms cut, surveillance cameras taken," said Amormino.

Authorities say the suspects removed a safe containing precious stones and gold, most likely by lifting the thousand-pound safe into a truck or van. They left through a back security door.

Many call the extreme measures to get the jewels desperate.

"I think the economy makes people try to get anything they can," said San Juan Capistrano resident Helen Nguyen.