Robbers hold store owners hostage
Couple taken from Stone Mountain home

STONE MOUNTAIN - Crime scene investigators worked alongside a smattering of Christmas decorations at a Stone Mountain home where three people were reportedly taken hostage Wednesday morning.

Police say armed robbers forced a couple from their Pounds Road home about 9 a.m. Wednesday, while another armed suspect kept watch over their 15-year-old son.

Police believe at least three black men are behind the robbery. An official said no one had been arrested in connection with the crimes late Wednesday.

Victims told police the robbers carried handguns. No injuries were reported.

The couple owns a jewelry store on Piedmont Road in Atlanta and were forced to drive their captors to the business in their own red Hummer, said Gwinnett police spokesman Officer David Schiralli.

As the parents were forced to drive into Atlanta, the other gunman waited at the home, watching the teen who was tied up, Schiralli said.

At the jewelry store, one business owner was able to escape and call 911, said Schiralli.

Atlanta Police Department investigators called Gwinnett police, who arrived at the Stone Mountain home about 11 a.m. to find the teen alone.

"The suspect had already left by the time we responded," Schiralli said. "The son untied himself."

Schiralli said the suspects took an undetermined amount of money and valuables from the jewelry store. The red Hummer was parked two blocks away, he said.

The suspects had forced their way into the home, but it was unclear what relationship they may have had with the family, Schiralli said.

Police are unsure why the suspects didn't simply burglarize the business, Schiralli said. He did not release the victims' names Wednesday.

"Investigations are in preliminary stages, and we're interviewing the homeowners now," he said.

Henry Vaca described the couple - his longtime neighbors - as immigrants from India who've logged long hours to flourish as business people in America.

Vaca said the alleged robbery isn't the first instance of serious crime the couple has encountered. Their home - a split-level abode in the tight-knit Corinth Hills neighborhood - was burglarized about two years ago, he said.

"It's terrible," said Vaca. "They are very good people. They work very hard."