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In what police suspect may have been an inside job, two salesmen were ambushed at Salt Lake International Airport and robbed of $500,000 in jewelry.
Airport spokeswoman Barbara Gann said five masked men and three vehicles were believed to have carried off the well-planned, precision robbery at 4:15 p.m. Thursday in the airport's rental car parking level.
"Two male [airline] passengers were dropping off a rental car when they were suddenly approached by two vehicles, a silver Nissan Altima and a black Toyota Camry. Five suspects then robbed them, at knifepoint, of a case containing the jewelry," Gann said Friday.
The robbery did not go without notice of nearby rental car agency employees, several of whom ran to the scene and briefly struggled with the suspects before they sped away exiting the airport going the wrong way and barely missing oncoming cars at the facility's entrance.
In addition to the Nissan and Toyota, police also are trying to locate a beige mini-van possibly involved in the robbery, though they declined to say what role that vehicle was suspected of playing.
Gann said such details along with the victims' identities, their hometowns and the exact nature of the jewelry stolen were not being released to protect the victims and the progress of the ongoing investigation.
No one was seriously injured in the incident, though one of the victims sustained a scraped wrist during a struggle with the suspects.
"The suspects had to have known the victims' travel plans, when they planned to arrive at the airport and other details in order to encounter them as they did," Gann said, confirming investigators suspected the robbers had obtained inside information.