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Burglars Hit Mag Mile Jewelry Store

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Jewelry Store Burglary

The Omega Jewelry Store on North Michigan Avenue was burglarized Monday morning. (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 02/13/12 5 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Three men burglarized the Omega Jewelry Store on the Magnificent Mile Monday morning.

Around 7:20 a.m. Monday, the men broke through the glass door at the jewelry store, at 909 N. Michigan Ave., police said.

Burglars disguised as workmen erected a plywood screen in front of the door. Like many others, the chef at the restaurant next door saw the men but took no notice.

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Still, Jorge Alvarez said, “I did think it was kind of weird for somebody to be working out there at 6 in the morning.”

The burglars entered the store and stole an undisclosed amount of jewelry.

A construction worker who helped remodel the building last year says the break-in couldn’t have been too easy.

“Our company worked on this store, and we did some very high security with the glass,” Tom Batinich said. “It’s a tempered glass that should be protected, as you can see. It looks like they used as sledgehammer to try to get in.”

Police said the men fled north on Michigan Avenue in a silver vehicle. The store had yet to open for the day when the burglary happened.

It was a crude operation, especially compared with the $500,000 Hollywood-style heist at Steve Quick Jewelry last week. Burglars broke into the sushi restaurant next door and then busted through the wall to reach the safe.

That approach was similar to a break-in at a Northwest Side jewelry store three months ago. There, burglars entered into a vacant flower shop next door.

“It was exactly the same,” owner Milton Tito tells CBS 2′s Derrick Blakley.

Experts say the reason for the jewelry store robberies can be traced to the rise in the price of gold. Gold and platinum can be melted down, and when removed from their settings, diamonds are practically untraceable.

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