Three unidentified men waited until the New Year's Eve ball dropped to pull off a multi-million dollar diamond jewelry heist in Midtown, Manhattan.

The heist took place inside KGK Holdings jewelry wholesaler at 70 W. 36th St., in what appears to be an inside job, since the thieves didn't have to crack the safes when they got inside.

"The safes were opened. They didn't even have to pry", police told the New York Daily News.

During this time, thousands of police were patrolling Times Square just a few blocks away.

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"They laid in wait until the ball dropped", police told the New York Post.

The trio allegedly stole US$6 million (NZ$8.6m) worth of diamond jewelry and are still at large.

In the surveillance video, a bearded white male wearing a hoodie and a backpack can be seen banging a hammer for several seconds. At one point, he looks straight into the camera.

His accomplice, wearing a hoodie and face mask, makes numerous attempts to break the surveillance camera with a hammer.

Two unidentified males were captured on surveillance footage using a hammer and crow bar to break into KGK Holdings jewelry wholesaler in Midtown, Manhattan. Photo / NYPD
Two unidentified males were captured on surveillance footage using a hammer and crow bar to break into KGK Holdings jewelry wholesaler in Midtown, Manhattan. Photo / NYPD

They used a hammer and crow bar to gain entry into the building through the freight entrance to the sixth floor at about 10pm, as revelers gathered at Times Square.

Once they were inside, the trio snuck into the sixth-floor offices of Gregg Ruth, a commercial jewelry store owned by KGK Holdings known for its rare yellow and pink diamonds, and allegedly grabbed the gems from two safes.

Police said one of the safes wasn't locked.

A security guard posted in front of the business said the company had no security officers protecting the premises before the robbery.

The wholesaler reported the theft at 3pm on Sunday.