Suspects in wild Fashion Valley jewelry heist jailed - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Suspects in wild Fashion Valley jewelry heist jailed

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Two parolees suspected of carrying out at least three jewelry store robberies -- including a brash heist during which the pistol-wielding thieves swerved a car through crowds of shoppers at Fashion Valley mall -- were behind bars Thursday.

Robert Chavira, 40, and Ryan Alan McKnight, 34, were arrested Wednesday night after leaving a hotel at Grape Street and Pacific Highway, near Lindbergh Field.

Chavira and McKnight, both of whom live in the San Diego area, are suspected of carrying out holdups at jewelry shops in Palm Desert on Oct. 26, in San Jose on Oct. 15 and in Mission Valley on the morning of Sept. 16, according to Riverside County sheriff's Deputy Angel Ramos.

During the local crime, three gun-toting bandits with ski masks over their faces drove a sedan across walkways in front of shops at the Friars Road shopping center. People scrambled to get out of the way as the thieves veered across the mall in a white older-model Toyota Camry, honking the horn and ramming signs, police reported.

After the car stopped in front of a Ben Bridge store, two of the men got out, carrying pistols, and ransacked the business, smashing display cases and grabbing jewelry. They then got back into the vehicle and were driven out of the mall.

About 10 minutes later, officers found the car -- which had been stolen earlier in the day -- abandoned in a parking lot at a nearby Wells Fargo bank.

Despite the robbers' reckless scheme for getting to and from the targeted jewelry retailer, no injuries resulted, according to police.

The third perpetrator of the heist remains at large, Ramos said.

Chavira and McKnight were being held without bail in San Diego Central Jail.

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