Dramatic scenes during Selfridges “smash and grab” raid
Two men have been arrested after they were stopped by members of the public following a “smash and grab” raid at Selfridges by a gang armed with axes.
Thieves targeted the department store on London’s Oxford Street in broad daylight, smashing display cabinets and making off with watches and jewellery, witnesses said.
Armed police were sent to the scene but no shots were fired during the incident just before 8.30pm, half an hour before closing time.
Minutes later, two suspects fell off their moped nearby as they tried to make a getaway from the store. Bystanders grabbed hold of the two men and called police after noticing a bag they were carrying was full of watches.
Matthew Carrozo, 28, from east London, was at The Draft House pub at the corner of Goodge Street and Charlotte Street when he heard the moped crash.
He said he then saw a man run out from a nearby pizza restaurant and pin down one of the two people who were riding on the vehicle.
"Someone noticed a bag had fallen off the moped and that it had opened and a bunch of watches fell out. The duffle bag was full of watches and jewellery," he said.
Mr Carrozo said one man was dressed in full motorcycle gear while a second man dressed in a burka had been on the back of the moped, and fell onto the ground.
"The first guy pegged it and then he was held to the ground as other people were getting involved. He really put up a struggle. When cops turned up they put him in the back of a van and he was kicking and screaming," said Mr Carrozo. "We were totally stunned by what we saw."
Numerous messages appeared on Twitter after the incident. One user wrote: “6 guys with guns + motorcycles just ran into @Selfridges smashed the counters grabbed jewelry and rode away.”
Another said: “Around 10 men with guns and axes attempted to rob the place. Silly people. As if they can rob Selfridges!”
Two large yellow handled axes were seen near the shop after the incident.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Police were called at approximately 20.30 to reports of a smash and grab inside Selfridges.
"The gang armed with axes smashed cabinets before making off with items from the shop.
"It is not currently known how many people were involved."
Two of the suspects came off their moped in nearby Goodge Street, where members of the public then prevented them from leaving before officers arrived and arrested them, police added.
One of the men was taken to hospital while the second man is currently in custody.
Detectives from the Flying Squad are investigating.
Witnesses reported hundreds of people running from Selfridges in panic. The store later posted a message on Twitter saying: "Hi, we just want to let you know that everyone is safe and the police are investigating. We will update you once we have more information."