CARLSBAD, Calif. — Authorities are searching for three individuals suspected of lighting off a firework and stealing from a COACH store in Carlsbad Saturday.
The incident happened on 560 Paseo Del Norte Space at around 6:45 p.m. in the Carlsbad Premium Outlets.
Shocked customers said they were confused by a thick veil of smoke coming from the COACH store, with many thinking the shop was on fire.
“We were buying jewelry next door and all of a sudden we heard kind of like a bang and people were screaming outside and we came outside because it was smelling like smoke,” shopper Adriana Aguirre said. “We were worried that the mall was on fire.”
Authorities said three people entered the store, stuck a firework in a shoe and then stole an unknown amount of items before taking off.
“I saw the end tail of it of them running away because there was a lot of gun powder, smoke,” Aguirre said.
Carlsbad police said it is a unique but dangerous tactic used by these type of robbery suspects.
“It’s a unique approach and I would actually say it’s a pretty dangerous approach because it can have unintended consequences,” Lt. Reid Shipley said. “Certainly people can get injured and that’s definitely something you want to avoid.”
Law enforcement officials confirmed there were no injuries. The suspects are described as two men and a woman in their 20s who took off in a gray late 90s Toyota.
While a shoe was damaged during the robbery, police said the store should be back open for business Sunday.