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Jewelry store robbery led to another gun scare at Tysons Corner Center

Tysons Corner Center (file photo)

Fairfax County police are investigating a “smash-and-grab” jewelry store robbery at Tysons Corner Center.

The suspect used a hammer to smash display cases at Elite Jewelers, which is on the mall’s first floor near Macy’s, the Fairfax County Police Department reported at 5:53 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 1).

Police say the suspect was a man wearing a white, hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. Surveillance footage shared by the department show the man wearing a disposable blue surgical mask and sneakers. In a couple of images, he appears to be talking on a cell phone.

The sound of the cases being smashed evidently prompted another unfounded panic about a shooting at Tysons Corner Center, though the FCPD confirmed that there were no shots fired.

As reported by ABC7, Daily Beast reporter Zachary Petrizzo said “mobs of people began running yelling about a shooter,” adding later that he hid in the mall’s North Face store before evacuating.

Maria Leaf, a reporter for the radio station WMAL DC, said she was getting her nails done when “when all of a sudden there were people running, screaming and what sounded like gunshots.”

“I yelled to my nail tech to shut the doors and turn the lights off,” she said after reporting that the incident sounded like a robbery. “Everyone here was shaken. Mall was packed due to it being a holiday. Supposed to be open till 7.”

Anxiety about the potential for gun violence has been high at the D.C. area’s biggest mall since three shots were fired on June 18, sparking a panicked evacuation that injured three people. D.C. resident Noah Settles was indicted for that incident in September.

A shattering light fixture prompted another evacuation on Aug. 7 after the sound was mistaken for gunshots, and rumors of gunfire spread on social media last month when police chased a trio of men wanted for a robbery in Arlington. Police found a gun on one of the suspects, a teenager, but no shots were fired.

Regarding the jewelry store robbery, the FCPD said this morning that it had no updates to share, but its “detectives continue to investigate and ask for information.”

The department advises anyone with information to contact its non-emergency line at 703-691-2131.

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