CALGARY — Bandits made off with a large quantity of diamonds Tuesday after disabling a jeweller’s rental car and ambushing him in broad daylight.
Witness Michael Flemming said he first saw a distraught man standing beside the car just before 11 a.m as the brazen heist unfolded.
That was mere seconds after a van cut off the vehicle in which he was a passenger.
“They very deliberately cut us off,” he said.
“Then, we looked over to the side and saw a man crying outside his car. You could tell he had a traumatic experience.”
They also could tell something suspicious was going on and called police while keeping tabs on two fleeing vans, one that drove at a high rate of speed over a curb and the other with a towel or something obscuring the licence plate.
Flemming said they went to comfort the victim — who said thieves made off with his briefcase — as he waited for police to arrive.
While he wasn’t physically harmed, Flemming said it’s clear the man was shaken.
“He was in total disarray, saying, ‘They robbed me, can you help me?’ ” Flemming said. “Emotionally, he’ll have scars.”
About 20 minutes later, police found one of the suspected get-away vans with Ontario licence plates abandoned in the northeast. They pulled over a city bus thinking the suspects might have jumped on public transit.
But by Tuesday evening, no arrests had been made.
Last December, a gem dealer from Toronto was robbed while waiting for help for his disabled auto on the highway near Red Deer.
Police are looking into all similar cases to see if there are any links.