$500K in jewelry, purses stolen from Fashion Valley store

SAN DIEGO -- Authorities Tuesday asked the public for help in identifying a fast-working crew of burglars who broke into a luxury-goods retailer at Fashion Valley mall and made off with more than half a million dollars' worth of merchandise.

The group of 10 thieves, all wearing gloves and hooded sweatshirts, used a crowbar or similar tool to pry open the front door of the Hermes De Paris store at the Friars Road shopping center shortly before 4:30 a.m. Sunday, according to San Diego police.

While inside the business for about two minutes, the bandits stole a variety of items, including purses, jewelry and clothing. The total loss was estimated at in excess of $500,000.

The burglars arrived and fled in three vehicles -- a white Chevrolet Suburban and two blue sedans of unknown make and model -- with paper license plates. Officials have released no detailed descriptions of the perpetrators.

Investigators believe the thieves may have taken part in a series of break-in thefts at high-end department stores across California, police said.

Anyone with information about the case was asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477 or contact the agency online at sdcrimestoppers.org. Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.