Robbers kidnapped a shop worker during a raid in which they made off with up to £40,000 worth of electronic equipment, police said.
The robbery took place at a mobile phone shop in Connswater shopping centre, east Belfast, and the gang escaped with laptop computers, games consoles and more than 300 mobile phones.
Two men arrived at a delivery entrance to the premises and loaded the goods into a white van, forcing the member of staff into the vehicle, before driving away.
They later dumped the van and released the captive employee before making off in a second vehicle.
The theft occurred between 4.30pm and 5pm on Sunday but details were only released last night by officers tracking the gang responsible.
The two thieves were wearing navy fleeces and had scarves over their faces, while the white van they used is described as being similar to a Transit, with a side door and side window.
The stolen goods included 20 laptops and mini laptops, 17 games consoles, 315 mobile phones, as well as a sum of cash.
The van was driven on to Bloomfield Avenue and towards the Mersey Street area before being dumped in Humber Court, then set alight between 5pm and 5.30pm after the goods had been loaded into a dark grey van.
Police said the gang escaped and the staff member, who was left tied up nearby, had cuts and bruises.
They are appealing for anyone offered electronic products under suspicious circumstances, or who think they may have spotted either of the vehicles, to come forward.