An FBI tip that jewel thieves could be ready to strike in Jacksonville led police to be in the St. Johns Town Center area Tuesday evening when a smash-and-grab robbery occurred at a jewelry store there.

So when three people went into the Jared Galleria of Jewelry and used hammers to smash into display case, a Sheriff's Office surveillance team was watching as SWAT officers moved in, authorities said.

"They busted the counter. We busted their heist!" the Sheriff's Office tweeted Tuesday night.

John Dijuan Davis, Delano Carlos Ross and Tristian G. Murphy were arrested as they fled, the Sheriff's Office said. A fourth man sought in a second car was picked up later Tuesday in Camden County, Ga.

"The FBI Safe Streets Task Force got a tip Tuesday afternoon from FBI Oakland County [Mich.] gang and violent crime task force that there were some suspects in the Jacksonville area that may be targeting local jewelry stores," regional FBI spokeswoman Amanda Warford Videll said.

The Sheriff's Office set up a surveillance team near Jared and spotted three men getting out of a white Nissan Sentra and going inside about 7 p.m., authorities said. The trio, armed with hammers, began smashing the glass counters and grabbing jewelry.

One man grabbed an employee by the neck and dragged her across the floor, according to that employee's mother.

"One of the guys had a weapon," the mother, Deborah Thompson, told Times-Union news partner First Coast News, reading off a text message from her daughter. "He dragged me and put it against my neck. I'm OK, very shook up."

As the trio was inside, their Nissan was blocked in as SWAT officers approached the jewelry store door, police said. When the suspects ran out the door, they were caught after a short foot chase by SWAT, the Sheriff's Office said. They were charged with armed robbery. Their arrest reports list Davis as 29 and Murphy 30, both of Detroit, and Ross 28 with no hometown listed.

Those arrest reports indicate 11 people were interviewed after the robbery, but they are all redacted so it is unknown how many might have been employees or customers inside at the time.

Police were also searching for a silver Hyundai Elantra with a South Carolina license plate driven by the fourth person connected with the case, the Sheriff's Office said.

That Hyundai was spotted heading north on Interstate 95 around Pecan Park Road about 7:30 p.m., and a Kingsland Police Department officer got behind it 20 minutes later as it passed into Georgia, officials said. The Camden County Sheriff's Office said its deputies pulled the car over at an exit ramp.

The driver, 28-year-old Devon Manquil Newby of Detroit, was booked into the Camden County jail on charges of driving with a suspended license and a Jacksonville hold in connection with the Jared robbery, the Sheriff's Office said.

Signet Jewelers, which owns Jared and other jewelry stores nationwide, would not comment on the robbery.

Dan Scanlan: (904) 359-4549