WATCH: Onlookers armed with chairs rush to help stop 'jewellery store bandits'

Paul Dowsley

A dozen brave people have turned the tables on alleged jewellery store thieves in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg.

The bandits had allegedly robbed the shop and were trying to escape, but two were stopped in their tracks.

Without caring that they're being watched, three masked thieves used a hammer to smash their way into the store.

The offenders knew exactly what they wanted. Photo: 7 News

They can be seen on CCTV footage grabbing expensive jewellery and terrorising the owner as he locked up his family business.

One woman told 7 News: “We heard a massive smash like a hammer was hitting, we thought it was a gun, we didn't know what it was”.

It lasted just a minute but outside, a call to arms was underway on the street, with locals rushing to help.

They can be seen in the vision, first armed with a chair and table, and later using their fists.

Brave bystanders began smashing in the window. Photo: 7 News

"We grabbed the door so they don't get out…while someone was calling the police. So he had a hammer and the guns,” another witness said.

“We all tried to grab the guys that ran away. One tried to run away but we got two of them... It's our duty I think to do it,” Mouhssen Hamze said.

Cornered and outnumbered, one crook was a coward.

"Don't you f***ing move,” one of the citizen heroes told him, as the offender begged him,"Don't f***ing hit me bro".

"I'm not f**king hitting you, just don't move," he was told.

CCTV footage showed the locals tackling one of the crooks. Photo: 7 News

To get away, the third crook sprinted down the middle of Sydney Road with a bag of gold jewellery worth up to $100k in his hands.

Traders are furious because it is not the first time they have been hit.

“So many robberies here it is normal to us… The police are not doing anything about it,” shop owner Soroush Haqiqi said.

Community fights back after anger over lack of police action. Photo: 7 News

Three nearby jewellers have also faced a masked trio who used hammers in recent months, and with growing frustration, locals are fighting back.

"We were making a riot we wanted everyone to come and get these guys because police haven't done anything…after three shops like this is ridiculous,” a witness told 7 News.

"We had to make a change and help the community.”

The shop has been left smashed, but the brave local community is proud.

"We have to be a stronger community, you know help each other out…we have to do something for this country, it's got to be a stronger country,” one of the witnesses said.

Detectives have charged two of the men - an 18 year old from Cairnlea and a 19 year old from Derrimut - with armed robbery, aggravated burglary and theft.

They appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday afternoon and were remanded in custody.

Police were continuing their hunt for the third man on Friday night.