The thieves who drove a van through the storefront of a Pikesville jewelry store targeted luxury handbags during the three-minute smash-and-grab heist early Wednesday morning, according to a Baltimore County Police case report.

Three men and an unseen driver made off with $700,000 in new and secondhand purses and wallets from inside Radcliffe Jewelers after they rammed a cargo van through storefront windows around 2:36 a.m., fleeing in a black Dodge Charger, according to the police report.

The van, a white Ford E350, was still lodged through the Radcliffe building when police arrived at 2:41 a.m., according to the case report, responding to at least 10 activated alarms and a glass break alert at the jewelry store in the 1800 block of Reisterstown Rd.

In a video posted on Instagram, employees of Luxury in Reach, a company that sells and resells high-end handbags and jewelry from the same address as Radcliffe, said the thieves took Hermès Birkin bags, an exclusive and expensive handbag design manufactured from hides like calf leather, saltwater crocodile and ostrich, that typically retails for between $10,000 and $40,000 though some versions can sell for much more.

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“Our Birkin wall hasn’t been this empty since we moved in here,” an employee says in the video, which documents their first moments seeing the break-in.

Efforts to reach Luxury in Reach were unsuccessful Thursday. Efforts to reach the owners of Radcliffe Jewelers were unsuccessful Wednesday and Thursday.

Authorities wrote surveillance footage they reviewed showed two males exit a Dodge Charger, and another male step out of the driver’s side of the cargo van at the side of the building around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday. Two males then grabbed large black duffle bags from the black sedan’s rear seats — police recovered one of the duffle bags in a stairwell, according to investigating officers.

Five minutes later the cargo van was driven to the front of the store, put in reverse and backed into “the front exterior doors of the building,” causing damage estimated at $150,000, according to the police report.

Wearing dark clothing, ski masks and gloves, the van driver and two other males entered the building with bags and “burglary tools” — two of them “immediately ran up the stairs to gain access to the second floor where the purse/handbags were being displayed,” police wrote, and broke into six display cases.

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Footage captured by Radcliffe surveillance cameras showed the three men loading merchandise into duffel bags, police say. Intruders were inside Radcliffe’s for approximately one minute before video footage showed them hauling out the bags to the Dodge Charger, according to law enforcement. The sedan’s driver wasn’t observed ever exiting the vehicle, police said, before the car fled toward Interstate 695.

Police say the ignition was torn from the cargo van, but the vehicle was not listed in federal stolen property indexes.

Radcliffe Jewelers is popular among wealthy Baltimoreans shopping for wedding registries and luxury gifts made of fine crystal, china and silver. The second floor of its Pikesville location featured an enviable collection of vintage designer handbags from brands like Louis Vuitton and Hermès. Radcliffe has a second location in The Shops at Kenilworth in Towson.

The tactic used in the Pikesville burglary has become common across the country, including two recent jewelry store heists in California.

Police ask anyone with information to call 410-887-6296 or 410-307-2020.

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A man works on fixing the front window of Radcliffe Jewelers after a vehicle drove through the window in the early morning hours of August 16, 2023.
A man works on fixing the front window of Radcliffe Jewelers after a vehicle drove through the window in the early morning hours of Aug. 16, 2023. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

taylor.deville@thebaltimorebanner.com

Taylor DeVille covered Baltimore County government for The Baltimore Banner with a focus on the County Executive, County Council, accountability and quality of life issues affecting suburban residents. Before joining The Banner, Taylor covered Baltimore County government and breaking news for The Baltimore Sun. 

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