Shop-owner fights masked thieves in jewellery heist

Shop-owner fights masked thieves in jewellery heist

Two masked men are on the run after fleeing with $40,000 worth of jewellery from a Melbourne shop.

They terrified staff with a gun and a sledgehammer, and the store owner risked his own life trying to fight the men off.

The thieves burst through the front door at lunch time, catching staff off-guard.

"They were just going about their everyday duties, you just don't expect something like this to happen - it was like a war zone," says shop-owner Perry Hannah.

Armed with a sledgehammer and gun they got down to business.

Mr Hannah was at a café next door.

"It's just a blur, I kept entering trying to distract them," he says.

Again and again he confronted the armed men, trying to lure them outside.

"I just wanted to protect my staff, just natural instinct, I don't know if I'd do that again," Mr Hannah says.

One staff member hid and remained unseen for the entire robbery.

Two employees were ordered out back, and one was forced at gunpoint to open the safe.

The thieves grabbed their loot and made a run for a getaway car, but Mr Hannah wasn't finished.

"I let fly with a café chair and it hit the top of his head, then they got in and took off," he says.

In the end there was $20,000 worth of damage to the shop, as well as $40,000 of jewellery stolen.

"If I get a hold of you before police, so help you God," Mr Hannah warns the thieves.

His brave actions have earned praise but come with a warning from police, calling it "tremendous" but not recommended.

And Mr Hannah admits he's unlikely to put up the same sort of fight if it happens again.