HOUSTON Houston police are on the hunt for three brazen suspects who smashed windows at a posh jewelry store in Rice Village Wednesday afternoon and took off with nearly $100,000 in jewels.

The suspects hit Rice Village Diamonds in the 2400 block of Rice Blvd. near Morningside around lunchtime, even though the area was buzzing with people.

It was not only in broad daylight, but a peak Rice Village time: lunch, said Jeff Robichau, the store manager. I mean, we ve got people that come in from the Medical Center for lunch. It was swarming.

Witnesses said three men hopped out of a red HondaPilot and began banging on the outside display window with hammers. It was thick, reinforced glass, but they smashed through three panes.

No customers were in the store at the time, only Robichau and two employees. They heard the commotion but didn t realize what was happening.

I thought something was falling so we were looking around, Robichau said.

When he spotted the robbers, Robichau ran to lock the front doors. By then, the thieves had already taken what they wanted.

So our windows are full of diamond jewelry, Robichau said. That s exactly what they went for. That s exactly what they got.

Authorities found the getaway car abandoned a few blocks away. They are not saying whether the thieves had another vehicle or if they fled on foot after dumping the Honda.

What gives them the right? I don t understand it. I don t understand the nerve, Robichau said.

There are state-of-the-art surveillance cameras throughout the inside of the store, but not outside.

Investigators are hoping to get a good glimpse of the suspects from cell phone videos and photos taken by witnesses at the time.

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