Fairfax County police are investigating a “smash-and-grab” jewelry store robbery at Tysons Corner Center.
Police say the suspect was a man wearing a white, hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. Surveillance footage shared by the department show the man wearing a disposable blue surgical mask and sneakers. In a couple of images, he appears to be talking on a cell phone.
The sound of the cases being smashed evidently prompted another unfounded panic about a shooting at Tysons Corner Center, though the FCPD confirmed that there were no shots fired.
Officers are on scene of Elite Jewelers in Tysons Corner Center for a robbery. Suspect smashed jewelry cases with a hammer. NO shots were fired. Male suspect, white hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans. Call 703-691-2131 with info. #FCPD pic.twitter.com/869qcwoJ36
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) January 1, 2023
Maria Leaf, a reporter for the radio station WMAL DC, said she was getting her nails done when “when all of a sudden there were people running, screaming and what sounded like gunshots.”
“I yelled to my nail tech to shut the doors and turn the lights off,” she said after reporting that the incident sounded like a robbery. “Everyone here was shaken. Mall was packed due to it being a holiday. Supposed to be open till 7.”
Currently hiding out in a North Face store.
— Zachary Petrizzo (@ZTPetrizzo) January 1, 2023
I am safe. Locked in a dark salon. Sounds as if it was a robbery. Fairfax Co. police are here.
— Maria Leaf (@MariaLeaf) January 1, 2023
Anxiety about the potential for gun violence has been high at the D.C. area’s biggest mall since three shots were fired on June 18, sparking a panicked evacuation that injured three people. D.C. resident Noah Settles was indicted for that incident in September.
A shattering light fixture prompted another evacuation on Aug. 7 after the sound was mistaken for gunshots, and rumors of gunfire spread on social media last month when police chased a trio of men wanted for a robbery in Arlington. Police found a gun on one of the suspects, a teenager, but no shots were fired.
Regarding the jewelry store robbery, the FCPD said this morning that it had no updates to share, but its “detectives continue to investigate and ask for information.”
The department advises anyone with information to contact its non-emergency line at 703-691-2131.
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