POLICE are expected to release CCTV footage later today to help catch thieves who smashed their way into a Ballarat jewellery store this morning.
The front door to Allan Brothers Jewellers was smashed at 3.42am, when alarms alarms alerted a private security company to the break in.
A number of display cabinets and wall cabinets were smashed and a quantity of jewellery, predominantly gold, was stolen.
The store's diamond pieces were locked in safes and were not taken.
Police have located a large hammer on the floor of the business and were forensically examining the scene for evidence this morning.
Smashed glass was strewn across the shop floor and out onto the Sturt Street footpath when The Courier visited the site just before 8.30am.
A number of the stolen items were found early this morning dropped on Sturt Street itself, but most are still missing.
Surveying the damage at the scene this morning, owner Bill Allan said it was the first time his business had been burgled in 44 years.
He said with Valentine's Day just days away, the break-in would have a considerable impact to his business at one of the busiest times of the year.
"We're hoping to re-open tomorrow at this stage," he said.
"I can't believe it - we've got a big tidy-up job."
Mr Allan said while he had never before been burgled, the prospect of a break-in was always there.
"It's always the fear you've got in the back of your mind when you own a jewellery store," he said.
"There are idiots out there, there's always going to be that opportunity."
Mr Allan said there were three security cameras located inside the store and footage would be handed over to police this morning.
"This is the first time they've got into the store - ever," he said.
"There's been window damage in the past, but never a fully-fledged burglary like this one."
Mr Allan couldn't give an estimate on the value of the items stolen this morning, but said the cost to replace them would be "considerable".
A crime scene guard was established this morning as detectives and Crime Scene Services officers scoured the building for clues.
Anyone with any information can call Ballarat Criminal Investigation Unit on 5336 6080.