After a bunch of smash-and-grab burglars stole $500,000 worth of jewellery in broad daylight on Tuesday, the owner of a jewellery store in Southern California says he is unsure of his future.
Owner of Jewels on Lake in Pasadena Samuel Babikian claimed to have been pepper sprayed in the face and had his shop plundered by the masked guys just before 2:00 p.m.
“I was choking,” Babikian said. “I didn’t see anything. I don’t even see who they are, I don’t even know how many people they are.”
According to the publication, the smash-and-grab was carried out by four individuals wearing ski masks, according to Pasadena police’s report. Within minutes, the suspects had escaped the shop before the police arrived.
Babikian, who has been the company’s owner for close to 50 years, broke down in tears as he told the station he wasn’t sure what his future held.
“I don’t know what I would do tomorrow morning. I don’t know if I should come to the store,” Babikian said. “I don’t know, I really don’t know what I am going to be doing because this was my life, this is the place that gave food to my family.”
“It’s not right,” he said. “In a second, they can come and destroy your life.”
There were no immediate arrests in relation to the robbery.
The organised retail crime epidemic has been ongoing throughout California.
A group of hooded burglars struck a Macy’s shop in Los Angeles on Thursday, stuffing bags with looted goods before escaping in two getaway cars.
The most recent smash-and-grab occurred only a few weeks after officials in Los Angeles announced the creation of a regional retail crime task force in response to a string of flash mob robberies that went viral on social media.
The task force is made up of several law enforcement organisations from Southern California, including the FBI Apprehension Task Force, U.S. Marshals Apprehension Task Force, and L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.