HOUSTON—A group of suspects broke into the high-end retailer Chanel in the Galleria early Wednesday morning and stole around 30 purses, police said.
The crime was reported near Westheimer and Post Oak Boulevard around 4 a.m.
Police said it appeared the suspects gained access to the mall through an unlocked front door. Investigators say they used an axe to smash the safety glass. At least 30 high-end purses were stolen, some worth up to $10,000 dollars each.
"I just saw a big hole in the Chanel store. They’re having to peel the window back," said Ferst Person, a mall walker. "You can tell they took a lot of the merchandise out."
Person walked into the Chanel store to see the damage done by the crooks. He said other shoppers were walking around with their mouths wide open.
"They’re just looking like... and they have it roped off. Everybody is just surprised that something like this could happen," Person said.
"Pretty unbelievable. You just don’t hear that kind of stuff in the Galleria area in Houston, real rare," said shopper Joy Breen. "I’ve lived here all my life."
Three of the suspects managed to get away while two others were caught at the scene. They were identified as Dalton Joseph, 29, and Joshua Pynnell, 30.
A sixth suspect who was driving the getaway vehicle, a pickup truck, fled and left his accomplices behind.
One of the suspects reportedly got into a fist fight with a security guard and ended up being shot with a stun gun.
Some of the pricey purses were recovered at the scene.
Galleria management later released this statement to the media:
"Our primary concern is always for the safety of our customers and mall employees, and we are thankful no one was injured during this incident which took place before mall hours.
We are grateful for the immediate response and actions of our security team and the Houston Police Department who quickly apprehended the suspects. We are providing our full cooperation to the local officials as they investigate."