PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach police are investigating a smash-and-grab heist of high-dollar handbags at Only Authentics.
Police said they are now looking into who carried out a burglary of merchandise that could approach $1 million.
The owner at Only Authentics said the break-in occurred sometime Tuesday night.
Thieves stole as many as 16 Hermes handbags, some valued at more than $100,000 each.
Alex Piquero, a criminologist at the University of Miami, said this was likely the work of some type of organized criminals.
"It just shows you they don't care, and they have it such that they have this down to the second," Piquero said. "I've got "x" amount of seconds to get in there. I have a car waiting for me down on the street, and there's probably another car two streets from there that it's going to be loaded on, loaded off, loaded on, load off."
Even more surprising is that the heist was seemingly done just hours before FBI agents descended on Worth Avenue and shut down Gallerie Danieli on Wednesday.
Agents from the art crime team were still at the gallery for a second day Thursday. They are still not saying what they're investigating, but Palm Beach police insist there's no connection to the burglary down the street.
The stolen handbags seem to be a hot commodity. Recently there have been reports of similar smash-and-grab burglaries around the country targeting the expensive bags.
Piquero said even secretive online sales of this kind of merchandise can be the exact trail that leads police to the thieves.
Matt Sczesny at WPTV first reported this story.