Police in Oslo are investigating what may be a new rash of armed robberies, committed in broad daylight and despite crowds of people in the area. Two jewelry stores have been hit in the past week.
Just four days after the robbery of a retailer of expensive watches in the fashionable downtown shopping center called Paleet, another jeweler was held up by armed robbers on Tuesday, also in downtown Oslo.
The robbery of Urmaker Kristensen occurred at 3:30pm, when Paleet on Karl Johans Gate was filled with shoppers. On Tuesday, the Oslo Diamantsenter at Storgata 14 was held up just before noon, also with little regard to shoppers and crowds on the streets.
Police said that in both cases, masked robbers stormed into the stores and threatened employees with weapons. They then proceeded to smash display cases and emptied them of valuables before fleeing with their loot in a waiting car. The getaway cars were both stolen, and found in the neighborhoods shortly after the robberies.
Olaf Erdal of the Oslo Police District told news bureau NTB that it was “too early” to firmly link the two robberies, but noted that the same methods were used.
Thor Martin Bjercke of employers organization HSH, which represents retailers, said the robberies stand out among others earlier in Norway. “We have heard about this type of fast and brutal robbery from other countries in Europe, but had been spared until now,” Bjercke told newspaper Aftenposten.
The robbers, he noted, use shock elements that all but paralyze store employees. In Tuesday’s robbery, the employees were ordered to lie on the floor while the assailants stole watches and jewelry.
There have been a total of 13 jewelry store robberies in Norway so far this year, most of them break-ins occurring when the stores are closed.