With one of the people holding a gun to the head of an 8-year-old boy, three bandits held up a Hewlett jewelry store for as much as $50,000 in merchandise, Nassau police said.

Police said they are still searching for the robbers. During the Wednesday night stickup, the store owner was pistol-whipped, punched and kicked, police said. The owner suffered a laceration to the head and was taken to South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, where he was in stable condition Thursday, authorities said. His identity was not released.

The boy was not hurt and no other injuries were reported, police said.

"The boy's doing OK," said Det. Sgt. John Giambrone.

The robbery occurred at 6:30 p.m. at Julia's Place Jewelers on Peninsula Boulevard, police said. The suspects assaulted the owner and one of the gunmen placed a pistol to the head of the child and announced the robbery.

According to Giambrone, of Nassau's robbery investigation squad, one of the robbers had visited the store about three hours earlier with a woman to look at a $10,000, 2-carat round diamond ring with a Tiffany setting.

Giambrone said the woman was wearing a yellow shirt with pink lettering that said, "Don't Interrupt Me While I'm Ignoring You."

The couple didn't buy the ring, but the man returned later. Within minutes after he returned to the store, the two other suspects entered and put the gun to head of the person closest to them -- the 8-year-old boy, Giambrone said.

The items the robbers fled with included assorted rings and a $9,000 Rolex watch.

Two women also were inside the store at the time of the robbery, police said. One of them, the daughter-in-law of the owner, who identified herself only as Dina, said the robbery happened quickly.

"First we thought, 'It's a bad joke,' " she said. "It was really fast -- one, two, three and it's over."

Police said the trio took from a display case, then fled north on Mill Road in a dark-colored car.

Anyone with information is asked to contact their hotline, Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS.

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