“They laid in wait until the ball dropped,” said a law-enforcement source.
The three hooded and masked men broke into a West 36th Street jewelry wholesaler at 12:01 a.m. Sunday in what appears to be an inside job — while 7,000 cops were distracted protecting Times Square revelers just a few blocks away.
The source said the thieves “100 percent” planned the heist to coincide with the ball drop.
They made off with around $6 million in gems and are still at large, police sources said.
The burglars were caught on video inside Gregg Ruth, a commercial jewelry store known for its rare yellow and pink diamonds. One of the robbers, a bearded white male in a hood without a mask, looks straight into the camera during the heist, surveillance footage shows.
They came in through a freight entrance to the sixth floor business and then used a hammer and crow bar to break a lock, gaining access to a room containing four safes, sources said. The gloved suspects removed diamond-encrusted and 18 karat gold bracelets, earrings and necklaces from two of the safes. The safes were either already open or the burglars knew the combination, stuffing the pricey merchandise into several backpacks, sources said.
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