UPDATED: 2/28/2012 4:35 p.m.

HOBART, Ind. — Thieves were caught on tape swiping jewelry by the bucketful at a Hobart jewelry store.

Three men carrying empty buckets were captured on surveillance tape inside the Helzberg Diamonds, 2871 E. 81st Ave.

The store still bears the scars of Sunday’s burglary: There’s a boarded-up lower window pane where the thieves entered.

The operation went off like clockwork.

Around 8 a.m. on Sunday, a van, possibly a Chevy, with no plates pulled up and three burglars got out.

Caught on surveillance tape, they used hammers to smash covers on the jewelry cases. One used a mule kick to finish the job.

Then, the suspects began to sweep jewelry into large plastic buckets, first from the front of the counter, then from the back.

“It looks like they may have been there less than a minute,” said Hobart Police Lt. Jack Greenes. “It was more of a smash and grab where they smashed the window, took some jewelry and took off.”

The burglars left with buckets of diamonds and jewelry. They hopped back into the van and sped away.

So far, police are stumped, and in this area, jewel thefts are rare.

“The fact this happened early Sunday morning is pretty rare, too,” Greenes said. “You kind of expect your smash and grab burglaries to occur late at night, not in the middle of the morning.”

Anyone with information about the burglary at Helzberg Diamonds is asked to call police at (219) 942-1125.