Heavy explosives used to break in to jeweler; two arrests made
An explosion at the Punte jewelry store at around 4 a.m. on Friday caused massive damage to the store itself, and the surrounding buildings on the Choorstraat in the center of Utrecht.
The three suspects reportedly fled on a scooter. Two of them, a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old from Utrecht, have since been arrested, the police report. Their accomplice was still on the run Friday afternoon.
At least four stores were badly damaged in the event. The steel shutter of the jewelry store flew through the window and shattered glass covered the pavement in front.
"Broken windows usually mean a lot of damage to jewelry and watches. I think the damage will be immense. This is a considerable loss, especially in this day and age", owner of the store, Ruud Reijers, says to RTV Utrecht.
It was not immediately clear if the thieves were able to get away with any valuables, although Reijers says it is likely. Four times in the past one and a half year Reijers claims robbers have tried to break in to his shop, twice successfully.
“This is so bitter”, Reijers says to the AD. “We had just opened. Sometimes your courage just evaporates. I am angry and sad.”
Many owners of other stores in the street came to show their support. Bridal store owner, Alexandra Covers, is outraged about the crime. “How dare they”, she says, “These teenage boys.”
Stores in the shopping street will stay closed until police have gathered more evidence and secured the area. The Choorstraat has been largely blocked until further notice. The residents of the neighboring houses have to leave their homes temporarily until experts can determine if any explosives remain.
The burglary suspects reportedly wore black clothing at the time of the crime and fled on a black and grey scooter.