WOODBRIDGE — It took only a minute for a group of armed individuals to storm the Virani Jewelers store and violently make off with display cases of gold chains and jewelry on Friday night.
Woodbridge police Capt. Scott Kuzma told New Jersey 101.5 that the group entered the store in a small strip mall on Oak Tree Road in the Iselin section of Woodbridge at 7:45 p.m., just 15 minutes before closing.
Security footage of the robbery shows eight individuals with guns wearing black clothing and ski masks rushing into the store shouting. As they entered, the group pushed a man and woman sitting on high-back chairs at the entrance to the ground.
The group immediately scattered around the store and used hammers and chairs to smash the display cases and help themselves to the jewelry.
One minute and gone
As one of the group watched the door, the rest shoved jewels into their backpacks and carried full trays from the display cases out of the store.
In one minute they were gone, leaving behind shattered glass and emptied display trays on the floor.
The woman who was pushed face-first to the ground and a man who crouched to the ground during the robbery got up and began to survey the damage. The video showed two other workers in the store during the robbery.
Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac said the footage was released by the owner and shared numerous times on social media.
Large response from police
Police taped off the area in a large response to the store after the theft with many people gathered nearby, yet another video showed.
McCormac told New Jersey 101.5 that the dollar value of the theft has not yet been determined. He said the area is known for having almost all Indian retailers and restaurants.
"Fortunately nobody was hurt and we have an active investigation. If anyone has any relevant information we ask them to please call 732-855-TIPS (8477)," McCormac said.
A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.
From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.
Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.
If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.
Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.
You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.
Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.
Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.
I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:
The Summer season is here, and so are New Jersey’s street fairs
A full list of family fun street fairs happening now through the end of summer in New Jersey.
(All events are listed in date order through the September 21)
New Jersey's license plate designs through the years