THIEVES planned to steal thousands of pounds of jewels from an exclusive city-centre store by cutting a hole through a domed glass roof and lowering themselves onto the main shop floor, in a move that would have emulated Tom Cruise’s famous Mission Impossible scene.
The would-be raiders – equipped with ropes and climbing gear – attempted the heist at Macintyres of Edinburgh Ltd in Frederick Street at 3am on Tuesday, the News can reveal.
This was just hours before £50,000 worth of Rolex watches were stolen from another jewellers in the same street.
But the daring night-time raid on Macintyres was foiled after the thieves were disturbed by security guards.
Detectives are today analysing the discarded mountaineering style harness for clues – as shocked staff reflect on the latest in a string of increasingly audacious thefts targeted at city jewellers.
Officers are currently working round the clock to solve a heist on nearby Laing The Jeweller, which boasts Scotland’s largest collection of luxury watches. They are hunting a man who escaped with three Rolex watches through rush-hour traffic on a moped.
One shocked employee of Macintyres today revealed at least two men are thought to have been involved in the attempted break-in. Gaynor Turner, one of the firm’s directors, said: “We have security guards who patrol the building during the night and they heard them trying to break in through the roof. When they were disturbed they ran off, the security guards called the police.
“They reckon there were at least two of them. Our roof has a glass dome and they were trying to cut through that. They had ladders, I believe there was a get-away car and they had rucksacks full of equipment they were going to use and stuff to wrap things in.”
But Ms Turner said the thieves would not have been able to steal anything in any case because the store’s valuables were all locked away.
Laing confirmed three gents watches had been stolen in Tuesday afternoon’s raid. They were an 18ct yellow gold yacht-master II, priced at £29,100; a Bicolour Cosmograph Daytona, priced at £11,250; and a Bicolour Submariner Date, priced at £8,950.
In January, a £1 million rush-hour raid took place on up-market Rox jewellers in George Street, with display cases smashed and staff forced to open a window. And just last month, a Beaverbooks store at Fort Kinnaird was targeted by thieves who used ropes to climb onto the roof for the break-in.
Ms Turner said: “There seem to have been an awful lot of jewellers targeted just recently. We’re quite lucky we’re on the second floor – people would not be able just to run out the door.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police are investigating following a break-in at a jewellery store in Frederick Street.
“The premises was entered at around 3.10am on Tuesday. However, the suspects were disturbed and made off empty handed. Enquiries are ongoing and anyone who can assist detectives is asked to contact police immediately.”
Police said there was no link between the Macintyres and Laing incidents. They also said there was nothing at the moment to link the Macintyres break-in to the Fort Kinnaird theft. A police source said luxury brand watches can easily be sold on the black market. “High end watches are something that can be easily passed in criminal circles,” he said.
The 1996 spy blockbuster Mission Impossible features an iconic scene where a harnessed Ethan Hunt, played by Tom Cruise, 50, attempts to break into a high security vault.