Jimmy Choo purses taken from Chevy Chase store

Photo: Montgomery County Police

It happened in broad daylight just before noon last Wednesday. Police say three men walked into the Jimmy Choo store in Chevy Chase and seconds later rushed off with thousands of dollars in handbags.

“I guess I’m surprised it happened here in Friendship Heights. It seems like a pretty isolated area, but it’s probably a reflection of the down economy. People get a little more desperate when they can’t pay their bills,” says Peter Lamott of Alexandria.

Surveillance photos show the three men in a nearby department store before the burglary. Police say a fourth man drove a getaway car, a red, four-door sedan.

“Wow, now you’ve got me scared! I need to be safe doing my midday shopping,” says Tamra Dicus of Landover.

Residents say this isn’t necessarily a high crime area, but the dozens of high end shops on Wisconsin Avenue could be easy targets for thieves. Burglary is one of Montgomery County’s biggest crime problems and police say this doesn’t appear to be a random act.

“That’s the point of these thefts. A lot of times they are very good. They stick to that role and the objective is to just get in and get out as fast as possible before store employees even really know what is occurring at that time,” says Rebecca Innocenti of the Montgomery County Police.

Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the three men. Some residents worry it won’t be the last time.

“They’re probably planning their next one. I mean, think about it,” says Pauline Powell of Chevy Chase.

Police ask residents to call the Bethesda Investigative Section: 301-657-0112, or the non-emergency line: 301-279-8000. To leave an anonymous tip, call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Police are offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.