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OC Celebrity Jewelry Store Owner, Employees Held Hostage During Armed Robbery

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LAGUNA NIGUEL (CBSLA.com) —Three men are on the loose after an armed takeover robbery at a celebrity jewelry store in Laguna Niguel Monday morning.

Brian Hassine, the owner of Nuggets & Carats Fine Jewelry & Art in the 28000 block of Crown Valley Parkway, said an undisguised gunman held him and his three employees hostage while two other men smashed his showcases and emptied them out.

The owner, who said the gunman threatened to kill everyone, told KCAL9’s Stacey Butler that he watched the entire heist unfold from his security cameras in the back room of the store.

“I kept thinking he’s going to have to kill us. We could identify this guy,” said Hassine.

Police said the alleged thieves reportedly stole several hundred thousand dollars in jewelry.

“All our rings and our watches are gone,” said Hassine.

Sheriff’s deputies said the suspects fled in a white sports utility vehicle, reported stolen out of Lakewood, then abandoned it and escaped in another car. They left rings behind on the floor of the SUV.

Hassine told Butler that he’s lucky to be alive.

“I want to get these guys. Anybody who does this type of thing should be put away,” he said.

The suspects were described as black men in their early 20s. The gunman was 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighed more than 200 pounds and had short hair.

Hassine is recently known for designing the wedding ring of Tamra Barney, who stars on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Orange County.”

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