A one-minute raid on a Napier jewellery store yesterday morning netted the intruders about $10,000.
A police spokesman said the raid on Michael Hill Jewellers appeared to have been "well planned" and the thieves knew what they were targeting.
They went for wristwatches and bracelets. The raid happened about 3.30am, when three people approachedthe store on the Market St side and began hammering at one of the large, strengthened plate-glass windows.
The hammering continued once they scrambled inside, as they took to glass-topped display cases. "It was all over very quickly," Hawke's Bay CIB Detective SergeantJohn McCarthy said.
Mr McCarthy said the thieves went straight to what they were after, which indicated they had planned the raid.
"I would imagine they have gone into the shop at some stage and looked around to see where things were. They have seen what they wanted."
He said the three were heavily disguised but are thought to all be males. One was wearing a black sweatshirt with letters of some sort emblazoned on one arm.
After scrambling out of the shop as alarms blared, the offendersran down Market St toward Cathedral Lane - dropping some items as they fled.
"Unless they lived nearby, we have to assume they had a vehicle somewhere in the area."
Mr McCarthy said police were keen to hear about anyone selling watches or jewellery on the cheap, either by word of mouth or social media sites.
"These thieves may be trying to get rid of the stolen items and we know that often they will use Facebook or other media sites to sell them," he said.
"If anyone comes across items that may have come from this burglary, they should contactpolice immediately."
He said the stolen items were expensive and would attract attention. Shop manager Heidi - she asked that her surname not be used - said she got a call from securityat 3.38am and was told there were multiple alarms going off at the shop.
"So I knew it was more than just something small triggering something."
Her fears were realised when she arrived at the scene, to be greeted by police and a sea of broken glass across the pavement and throughout the shop.
After taking in what had happened, she said, she simply "got organised" and began sorting out getting the window secured.
"Clive Glass were here really quickly and the police were fantastic." She said that when her staff arrived for work they were more angry than upset, as they were proud of their new Art Deco shop, which they had moved into last November. "It's our lovely new store - it's our baby."
With a sign on the door advising customers there had been a burglary and that it was closed for the day, staff armed with brooms, dustpans and cloths "went into clean-up mode".
It was open for business again today.
Heidi said there were no plans to put anything like security bars across the windows, as the shop was a heritage site and that would ruin its appearance.
Strengthened glass would be put back in.
-Anyone with information about the burglary or attempts to sell the jewellery should contact Mr McCarthy at Hawke's Bay police on 06 831 0700, or information can be left anonymously on Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.