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NYC jewelry store worker fights back when robbers threaten to kill him if he doesn't open display case. He survives, but crooks get away with $1K in rings.

Before-and-after photos of two robbers who changed clothes following an armed heist in New York City last month (Image source: NYPD Crime Stoppers)

A New York City jewelry store worker managed to escape injury after he fought back against robbers who threatened to shoot him if he didn't open a display case last week.

The robbers, however, got away with rings valued at $1,000 — and they both changed clothes during their getaway in an effort to evade capture.

What are the details?

Police on Tuesday said the pair watched Ray’s Midtown Jewelry on Lexington Avenue near East 45th Street for about half an hour before entering the store, the New York Daily News reported. Crime Stoppers said it all went down around 5:20 p.m. Jan. 4.

One of the robbers racked his gun several times and threatened to shoot the 53-year-old worker if he didn’t open a display case, police told the paper.

But the worker fought back, wrestling with the second robber, who was toting a can of pepper spray, the paper said.

With that, the gunman didn't wait on the outcome of the fight and smashed the glass display case with his gun, the Daily News noted.

While the worker wasn't hurt, police told the paper the duo ran off with rings valued at $1,000 — and changed their clothing.

However, the Daily News said the gunman, while racking his weapon, left behind ballistic evidence police recovered.

Authorities released surveillance images of the suspects Tuesday and asked the public to help identify them, the paper said.

The New York Post reported that the during the heist, the gunman was wearing a black face mask, black hooded sweatshirt, black backpack with red straps, and light gray sweatpants. Afterward, however, he changed into a red hooded sweatshirt, red pants, and black sneakers — and was last seen wearing a black backpack with red straps, the paper said, citing police.

Image source: NYPD Crime Stoppers

The suspect with the pepper spray was described as having a thin build, black hair, facial hair, and tattoos on both forearms, the Post said. During the stick-up he was wearing a dark blue backpack, black face mask, black hooded sweatshirt, light gray pants, and black sneakers, the Post noted, adding that police said he later changed into a dark blue backpack, black T-shirt, black pants, and black sneakers.

Image source: NYPD Crime Stoppers

Those with information can confidentially call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, the Daily News said.

'New York City is a big problem now'

The Post reported that a man who gave only his first name — Michael — said he entered the jewelry store moments after the armed robbery.

“You could see the glass was smashed all over, and [the owner] was terrified,” Michael — a 57-year-old customer who works in financial services — told the paper. “He’s scared, you know. I mean, he hasn’t opened up since. And you feel bad for the guy because you know this is really killing his business. I mean, he’s got overhead, and he’s afraid to open.”

A clerk at a news stand right next to the jewelry store — who also gave only his first name, Sharif — told the paper he's scared that he'll also become a victim.

“New York City is a big problem now. No security,” the 58-year-old Brooklyn resident told the paper. “It is really getting very bad here. We have a problem. I do not know who comes in, who has a gun. They ask for $100 in [lottery tickets], and then they reach in their jacket, and I am worried they pull out a gun.”

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