Cops foil watch heist in downtown Lausanne

Lausanne police thwarted a brazen attempted armed robbery at a jewellery and watch shop in the centre of the Vaud capital on Thursday.

Officers collared three young men after they threatened staff with knives at the family-owned Junod shop in the Place Saint-François at around 12.30pm.

The men pretended to be customers, but upon entering the premises they brandished the knives and attacked the staff and at least one client, police said.

The thieves, casually dressed in jeans, seized watches from the store’s small watch museum upstairs.

“Once the door was opened, they forced their way in and they took the place by storm with brutality,” Nicolas Goei-Junod, manager of the shop run by the family since 1867, told the 24heures newspaper.

Goei-Junod was not in the shop at the time but he later saw what happened from a surveillance video.

“My father and my sister received blows.”

A customer in the shop was taken to hospital for treatment of minor knife injuries on one hand, police said.

Goei-Junod told 24heures that it seemed like the thieves were targetting a specific group of watches but the ones they took were not of the highest value.

A passer-by alerted police by telephone and officers arrived at the shop just as the bandits were fleeing the shop.

In their haste they dropped some of the stolen goods on the pavement in front of the shop window, police said. 

A video shown on the website of Le Matin newspaper shows policemen pinning the three men to the ground, as shoppers look on, before reinforcements arrive in squad cars.

The case remains under investigation. No information about the suspects has been released.

The armed robbery is the sixth of its kind in the canton of Vaud since the beginning of the year.

It follows the hold-up of another jewellery shop in the Place Saint-François in March 2011, but in that case the culprits got away.

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Safe foils armed robbers in Geneva supermarket

An investigation is continuing into a failed armed robbery at a Coop supermarket in the Geneva suburbs on Wednesday when two store employees were held hostage while two gunmen attempted without success to pry open a safe.

Safe foils armed robbers in Geneva supermarket

The incident occurred at around 6am when the robbers, dressed in dark clothes, wearing motorbike helmets and wielding handguns broke into the Chêne-Bougeries store, cantonal police said.

The gunmen entered the supermarket via the delivery entrance and threatened one of two employees on the premises, police said.

They then sequestered the employees for 30 minutes while they tried to open the safe, police said.

The men fled empty-handed.

No-one was injured in the incident, police said.

The Tribune de Genève reported that neither of the two employees — the head of the meat department and a stockist — knew the combination of the safe.

The robbers stole an iPhone from one of the employees which was found abandoned in a parking lot behind the Coop by a reporter of the newspaper, who turned it into police.

Police did not disclose how the gunman got away.

Meanwhile, cantonal police in Valais are looking for witnesses after a robber made off with an undisclosed sum of money from a Raiffeisen bank in Sion on Wednesday afternoon.

The man obtained the money by threatening an employee, before fleeing on foot, 

Police are looking for a man aged 40 to 50 years old, 180 centimetres tall with a slender build.

He was wearing glasses, a dark wool cap with a visor, a red jacket with black shoulders and cape and blue overalls, according to the police description.

The suspect had a black sweater and work shoes with black gloves and may possibly have been carrying a dark-coloured bumbag.