Police have recovered two expensive watches taken during the brazen robbery of an upmarket Auckland jeweller - and this week raided several homes as they hunt for those behind the $750,000 heist.
Thieves armed with hammers smashed the windows at Partridge Jewellers in Newmarket on November 22 and stole about 30 top-of-the line Rolex watches.
The robbery was similar to one that occurred in a Partridge's on Queen St almost a year earlier and is unsolved. Police yesterday confirmed the recovery of two watches and said they had charged someone with receiving stolen goods.
The arrest and recovery of the watches were unconnected to this week's raids, which had been useful to investigators, said Detective Sergeant Phil Kirkham.
"Those actions have certainly ignited further inquiries for us to continue with," he said.
Police investigating the robbery - which left staff traumatised but not injured - were optimistic about finding the thieves.
"The bottom line is it's a significant amount of property that has been stolen, hence the reward notices that have gone in (the Herald) - we are still actively working on this and we are keeping a very much open-book approach, because these persons who have done this may or may not have done others."
Advertisements offering a $20,000 reward for help in identifying the robbers had been published recently and a Facebook page set up to spread the word. There had been a flow of information and Mr Kirkham wanted that to continue.
The Queen St Partridge shop was hit almost 12 months before the Newmarket branch and director Glenn Peachey suspected the same offenders, although Mr Kirkham was more cautious.
"I'm not saying that at all ... But they are people who have a propensity for committing robberies and violent-type crimes so our noose is being stretched to look at everything and anything."
Mr Peachey wasn't in the store when the robbers struck, but told the Weekend Herald it was terrifying for those who were.
"They were just after the product ... This time they were after Rolex watches and they managed to get away with a number ... It's not good."
He felt there were links with Queen St because the robbers behaved in a certain way, but did not want to elaborate. He hoped the information from the advertisements and web page would continue and help find those responsible.
"We've had a good response ... We've had some very good leads." The fact two watches had been found was positive and lead him to think the others "could still be in the country".
Mr Peachey hoped someone who saw the advertising would come forward.
"It would be good if they can. Any help towards that would be a greatresult ..."
Staff who were in the store were now suspicion of people and on edge as a result of the robbery, he said.
Anyone with information can call Glen Innes police on (09) 524-1910 or Crimestoppers on (0800) 555-111.