A new video shows what appears to be the most intense jewelry store heist as two robbers fought with the shop's employees in a brawl that involved the use of acid, a machete, a handgun, and metal chairs
The security footage, released to the media after the Montreal Gazette pushed to have the publication ban on the case lifted, shows jewelry store owner Vijay Verma and his relatives fight off a duo of armed robbers—who were equipped with a pistol and a machete—in January 2013 by beating them back with metal chairs and throwing nitric acid in the face of one of the assailants.
Video courtesy of Montreal Gazette
The video starts with the two men who attempted to rob the store—Richardson François and Jerry Theodore—jumping the glass counter and attacking the clerks. Theodore, armed with a machete, swings at a man and a woman in the back room while François, brandishing a gun, attempts to hold up Verma. Off camera, Theodore reportedly tied up the man and the woman in the back room, according to the Montreal Gazette.
After the two robbers emptied the vaults and most of the cases, however, Verma was able to get a hold of François's gun, which prompted the remaining employees to fight back. One man can be seen grabbing a metal fold-up chair and repeatedly hitting François and Theodore with them.
At one point, an employee tosses a bowl of nitric acid (typically used to clean jewelry) over the counter, which hits François in the face. He would later lose 50 percent of the vision in one of his eyes. After a very lengthy fight, with the machete and gun eventually being wrestled into the hands of the employees, the men eventually exit the store, bruised and in a panic.
Both men were connected to previous crimes before being arrested for the jewelry store robbery. François, 31, is a convicted killer and tied to mob activity in Montreal. François claims he was robbing the jewelry store to pay off various debts he had built up from a life of crime and heavy drug use.
Theodore pleaded guilty to a swath of charges, including assault and armed robbery in 2014, which nabbed him seven years in prison. François also plead guilty for the robbery and is trying to get his sentence lowered, claiming that he battled depression after being released from prison for his previous murder charge. His case is that he only continued to commit crime to pay for his cocaine addiction (which he used to help treat his depression). The hearing will resume on June 7.
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