A 'miracle' robbers didn't kill someone when they raided Northampton jewellers, says boss in exclusive interview
If ramraid robbers had plunged a car any further into a Northampton jewellersÂ people might have been seriously hurt, even killed.
That is according to the managing director for Michael Jones Jeweller, Stuart O'Grady who has spoken exclusively to the Chronicle and Echo about the ordeal suffered by his staff and customers on Friday.
At about 10.40am, five masked men ran into the store on the corner of Gold Street with bats and safety deposit boxes - having first driven a white BMW into the security door.
They took a small amount of jewellery before fleeing in a pale blue Hyundai.
One person had to be taken to Northampton General Hospital with relatively minor injuries, caused when the car slammed into the front door.
But Mr O'Grady- who was out meeting a customer at the time - told the Chron that things could have been much worse.
He said: "Given that a car has gone through the front door it is a miracle no one was seriously injured. Someone could have been killed.
"There were injuries caused, but if the car had come in another two feet it would have been a totally different situation."
The managing director said staff at the jewellers and customers in there at the time have been offered counselling following the ordeal.
Remarkably though, the shop was fitted with a temporary security door within hours of the raid and was reopened for business again on Saturday.
"My view is I am not going to let them beat us," said Mr O'Grady of the masked men. "It is our centenary year next year and we have been victims to this sort of break in before.
"It's like riding a bike - if you fall off you need to get back up again.
"It was obviously extremely traumatic to say the least, but the staff pulled together and worked extremely hard to sort out the shop and the stock."
The raiders were prevented from stealing more items by the shop's security system, which immediately filled the business with smoke when it was triggered.
Contrary to some eyewitness reports, Mr O'Grady said the men did not have smoke grenades - though one robber could be seen letting off a fire extinguisher outside the shop in a video taken by a member of the public.
But the shop boss said he has been heartened by the response from the Northampton public.
In the immediate aftermath of the robbery, people poured in to see if staff there were hurt. A traffic warden gave chase to the robbers as they left in a car and a bus driver tried in vain to block of Bridge Street so they could not escape.
And since then Michael Jones staff have been inundated with chocolates, flowers and sympathy cards.
"The level of support from the public, both customers and non-customers has been truly humbling," said Mr O'Grady.
"We just want to say a massive thank you to them. And I want to say a massive personal thank you to the staff as well.
"After tgoing through something so traumatic, to sort out the shop and the stock to be ready for the next day is just fantastic."
As of yesterday, the men were still at large.
Northamptonshire Police is appealing for anyone has information about the robbery to get in touch on 101.