Gunmen violently rob stores on Black Friday

HOUSTON - A group of thieves stole a million dollars worth of jewelry and cash from a flea market on Black Friday, investigators said.

Houston police said the robbery at the Houston Bargain Center in the 10000 block of Homestead happened shortly after 6 p.m., which was just before closing time.

"That's a lot of stuff to get away with," one customer said.

Investigators said the group of about 10 men barged in and forced an armed security guard to get on the floor. They handcuffed him and took his gun, detectives said.

The men forced customers and employees to get on the ground by pointing guns to their heads and threatening to kill them, police said.

The men then ransacked two of the five stores in the building, police said.

A handful of the thieves played lookout while the others used hammers to smash glass jewelry cases at the stores, investigators said.

Detectives said the robbers took diamond rings, Rolex watches and other high-end jewelry from the stores.

The robbers also forced the owner of both stores to open their safes and hand over the cash, investigators said.

Police said the thieves stuffed the cash and merchandise into duffel bags before they sped away in a white van.

One of the store owners said he is not happy with the police department's response to the robbery. The owner said he pushed a panic button the minute the robbers came in, but it took officers 16 minutes to get there.

Investigators said they are actively searching for the robbers.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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