Bellevue Square went on lockdown just before 6 p.m. Saturday after two robbers shattered the glass at Ben Bridge Jewelers, then grabbed and stole high-end watches.
People nearby thought the noise was gunshots and started running. Several mall customers told KIRO7 some people started screaming, “It’s a shooting.”
“I just saw a bunch of people start running out and I figured it was something bad, so I was like, I'm not going to sit around and wait,'” said Elly Moen, who was at the mall when the robbery happened. She asked people running by what happened.
“They thought they heard shots, and when I talked to the security guy, he said they heard pops,” she said.
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Officer Seth Tyler of the Bellevue Police Department said several people called 911 also reporting gunshots.
“The mall made the decision to do a lockdown where they close all the gates at all the shops, and several people were rushing out of the mall, running. So an alarming situation at the mall,” Tyler said.
Turns out, the noise people heard was caused by two robbers smashing a counter at Ben Bridge Jewelers.
“They’re pretty professional at what they're doing,” Tyler said.
Someone nearby when the robbery happened said the suspects used large rocks to smash the counter, and said one rock was the size of a loaf of bread.
Bellevue Police said the lockdown at the mall was quick.
“The mall was only locked down for about five minutes until we were able to determine what had taken place,” Tyler said.
But for people inside, those were frightening moments, especially for Moen, who said her daughter was attending Marysville-Pilchuck when five students were killed in a mass shooting in 2014.
“It scared me because my daughter was in the high school shooting. So it kind of brings all of that back, so not a good thing,” Moen said.
Police said this is not the first time a Bellevue jewelry store was robbed by people using this method -- during store hours, and done by a smash and grab.
Investigators are going through surveillance video and will release a description of the suspects when they have one.
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