Three people have been arrested in connection with the robbery of a Little Italy jewelry store last week.
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Police said the heist happened July 27 at Irelia Fine Jewelry on Kettner Boulevard. Witnesses said two men broke the store's glass front door and stormed inside. Surveillance cameras captured two men in gray hooded sweatshirts smash four display cases and steal 53 rings.
A camera mounted outside the store actually recorded the two men pacing outside for about 20 minutes before they broke in, the owners told 10News.
"They managed to do everything in under 60 seconds," said co-owner Fernando Cortes.
The two men got away with the rings, valued at about $35,000, which was actually good news, according to Cortes and his wife, Irelia, the store's namesake.
Cortes said the thieves stole prototype rings, which are worth about $700 each. The stones aren't worth too much. The real rings look the same, but are custom-made after the ring is ordered.
Holding one of the prototypes, Irelia Cortes said, "Something like this, depending on the center stone, could cost $10,000 to $15,000."
The store's losses would have been much worse if the thieves had made off with the real rings.
"Probably about a quarter of a million [dollars]," said Fernando Cortes.
The owners said San Diego police arrested three people -- the two men who allegedly performed the heist and a female accomplice who police said cased the store beforehand.
"She was casing the outside of our building. We could see her out there," said Irelia Cortes.
She said she tried talking to the woman, but the woman was acting strangely.
Irelia Cortes said she could see pictures of her display cases on the woman's iPhone.
The store's owners also said they were appreciative of their neighbors in Little Italy. They said several pedestrians and fellow shop owners called 911 to report the suspicious characters outside and the eventual crime.
"To me it's a blessing that they were caught," said Irelia Cortes. "I wouldn't wish this upon anybody."
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