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Watch a man steal $100,000 worth of rings from Zales at University Mall

Deputies are looking for the armed man who concealed his face and robbed the mall jewelry store on Tuesday morning.
Published Jan. 1
Updated Jan. 1

TAMPA — A man in a white hooded sweatshirt pulled out a handgun Tuesday morning in a Zales jewelry store at the University Mall and forced employees to fill a backpack with bling, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

The unidentified robber ran off with 69 men’s rings worth more than $100,000.

Now deputies need the public’s help to identify and arrest the armed robber.

The Sheriff’s Office released surveillance images and a minute-long video of the crime.

The images show the man concealing his identity with a white hoodie pulled tightly around his head. He had a black backpack strapped over both shoulders. He was also wearing gray sweat pants and black and white athletic shoes.

An image from a surveillance video shows a man who Hillsborough deputies say robbed a Zales jewelry store Tuesday morning in the University Mall. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]

The video showed him walking briskly through an aisle between glass jewelry display cases, then turning and raising a handgun. He appeared to speak with two employees, gripping the gun with his left hand and gesturing with his right before removing the backpack.

He told one employee to lie on the floor while directing the other to fill the bag with jewelry, deputies said.

The video showed him handing the second employee the backpack, then moving back toward the first employee, keeping the gun below the counter. In the distance, mall patrons stroll past. One bystander appears to see what is happening inside the store and backs away.

Seconds later, the man grabs the bag, stuffs more items into it, then runs off. No one was injured in the robbery.

Related: VIDEO: Watch the video of the Zales robbery from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said he headed south out of the mall. He got into a car and sped east on E Fowler Avenue.

The robber was described as a white man age 20 to 25, standing 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-8 tall with a medium build.

Anyone with information about this robbery or robber is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at (813) 247-8200. Anyone with information about this case who wishes to remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward is asked to call Crimestoppers at 1–800–873–8477, send an anonymous tip online using www.crimestopperstb.com, or send a tip with a smartphone using the P3 Tips Mobile application.

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