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Hammer-wielding thieves strike Memphis mall, stuff Rolex watches in pillowcases

By Janet DiGiacomo and Holly Yan, CNN
updated 12:34 PM EST, Sun January 19, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The thieves stole about $715,000 worth of Rolex watches, police say
  • Some reported gunfire, but police say it was the sound of display cases breaking
  • No one was injured in the incident, and the culprits remain at large

(CNN) -- At least five thieves armed with hammers stormed a jewelry store in Memphis, Tennessee, sending mall shoppers and employees scurrying as they stole dozens of Rolex watches, police said.

The culprits targeted Reeds Jewelers in Wolfchase Galleria around 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m. ET) Saturday, Memphis police spokeswoman Sgt. Alyssa Macon-Moore said.

Employees ran to the back of the store as the thieves stuffed about 65 Rolex watches into pillowcases, Macon-Moore said.

Each watch is worth about $11,000.

The case is being investigated as a theft, not a robbery, because the thieves did not interact directly with any employees.

Previously, police said the assailants were armed with sledgehammers and guns, based on witness accounts. But officers reviewed surveillance video and saw only hammers.

Others in the mall also reported the sound of gunfire, but police determined it was the sound of display cases being broken, Macon-Moore said.

Police received numerous calls from people hiding in the mall, which was temporarily locked down.

The thieves fled and remain at large. No one was injured in the incident.

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