The New York diamond district jewelry store that was held up by three men at gunpoint, who made off with a whopping $4 million in valuables this weekend, is a popular destination for high profile rappers — and purported gang members.
Police released surveillance footage of the heist at Avianne and Co. Jewelers on Monday, which shows three men storming the prominent jewelry shop — which has sold jewelry to dozens of rappers from Lil Wayne to LL Cool J.
The clip opens with a man, clad in a snazzy blue suit, fedora, and disguised by what police believe is a dreadlock wig, pulling out and cocking a silver pistol from underneath a table, which he points at the store’s employees, forcing one worker to his knees.
The next instant, another man, wearing a red bandana and long braids — which police also suspect is a wig — rushes in, and hovers over the incapacitated employee, gun in hand. A suitcase of diamond-encrusted watches sits on a table and more than half a dozen bottles of champagne are seen in various corners of the room. The third suspect, pictured in what appears to be the front of the store, is wearing a black bucket hat and paces about cases of earrings, rings, and bracelets.
The scene unfolded in broad daylight in the middle of midtown Manhattan. The New York Post reported the trio were buzzed into the store — located at 28 West 47th Street — on Sunday afternoon, posing as customers interested in purchasing rings. Instead, police say, they forced employees to open a safe at gunpoint, and afterward zip-tied and duct-taped the four employees’ hands, two of whom were minors.
“They got away with a lot of merchandise,” one worker, who wasn’t identified, told the Post. “I worked in the jewelry business for eight years. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
After the three men fled the scene, employees reportedly used pens to slice through the duct tape binding them, and called 911.
“It was a horrific event because you have no capabilities, you can’t really do anything and you have guns pointing at your faces,” the worker added.
Police, who showed up moments later, were unable to locate the crooks.
A scroll through Avianne’s social media channels yields an array of their elite musical clientele, particularly rappers Lil Uzi Vert, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Fetty Wap, Future, Slick Rick, Quavo, DJ Mustard, Young Thug and others. Justin Bieber and the cast of Jersey Shore have also reportedly shopped there — and a bespectacled Adam Sandler is pictured alongside rapper and longtime customer Cam’ron in another photo from the gem outlet's Facebook page.
The family-owned business, which opened in 1999 according to its website, has risen to such prominence it has practically become zeitgeist. The store cameos in the lyrics of several rap songs. Kodak Black, who was slapped with weapons and drug charges last year, once rapped, “Just bought a brand new chain from Avianne,” and on 21 Savage’s 2016 track “Outside,” alongside Travis Scott, the Atlanta rapper sings, “I'm draped in Avianne, I ain't got a deal.”
But Avianne doesn’t just cater to rappers, pop stars, and actors, who are known to drop hundreds of thousands of dollars on the store’s much-sought after watches, chains, and rings. Alleged gang members reportedly frequent Avianne, too.
A high-ranking NYPD official, who was not identified, told the Post that Avianne crafts jewelry “for both” rival Bloods and Crips street gangs.
“Whoever has the money. It’s all about the money,” the NYPD official said.
The Post also reported that the store was closed on Monday while detectives interviewed staff and neighboring jewelry stores.
Oxygen.com was unable to reach Avianne for comment.
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