Southern California has seen its share of smash-and-grab thefts, yet a recent attempt in El Monte took an unexpected twist. The incident, involving a confrontation with store employees, was captured on camera.
Reports from the El Monte Police Department indicate that the individual targeted Meza’s Jewelry on 10909 Main Street, entering the store around 2:20 p.m. on Saturday.
Upon entry, he used bear repellent spray on both the employees and customers before smashing the display cabinets and trying to seize the merchandise. However, the situation escalated when store employees confronted the man, leading to a physical altercation.
Footage from the incident depicts the store’s staff grappling with the suspect, during which his shirt was pulled off, and they struck him with a metal rod near the entrance.
The altercation continued onto the sidewalk, culminating in two employees chasing the suspect down the road. He managed to escape in a gray Dodge Charger, with descriptions portraying him as a Black man between 35 and 45 years of age, 6 feet 1 inch in height, and weighing between 270 and 300 pounds. He’s described as balding, with some facial hair, potentially including a mustache.
While it seems no items were stolen, the intruder did cause considerable damage to the showcases.
The case remains open, with the El Monte Police Department welcoming any leads.
This case, where a spray was used to deter store workers, adds to the growing list of retail burglaries in the Southland.
Just recently, a jewelry shop owner in Pasadena was pepper-sprayed while thieves made away with merchandise valued at over $500,000 from his store.
The store owner, Sam Babikian, reported that three men with masks and gloves entered during the robbery and used pepper spray on him.
The store’s unique door buzzer system meant that the brief moment when Babikian was seeing a customer out presented an opportunity for the criminals to overpower him.
Babikian, a veteran in the jewelry industry with 50 years of experience, moved his business to Pasadena in 2005. He revealed that this was the first robbery he’d faced since its inception.
Authorities are currently examining both store and local community surveillance footage in their attempts to identify the perpetrators.