Another California Smash-And-Grab Sees Thieves Make Off With Half A Million Dollars In Jewelry

"I don't even know what I would do tomorrow morning."
TOPSHOT - Law enforcement officers secure the area where they allegedly arrested terror suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami following a shootout in Linden, New Jersey, on September 19, 2016.16 - An "armed and dangerous" Afghan-born suspect wanted in the weekend bomb attacks in New York and New Jersey was wounded Monday in a shootout with police and taken into custody. Federal investigators released a mugshot of 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, who has brown hair, brown eyes and a brown beard, saying he was last known to live in Elizabeth, a town adjacent to Newark International Airport. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP) (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images)
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images

Yet another smash-and-grab robbery in the Los Angeles area on Tuesday saw a band of thieves make off with half a million dollars in jewelry, the store’s owner said.

Samuel Babikian, owner of Jewels on Lake in Pasadena just north of Los Angeles, was left distraught after he said a group of robbers came into his store and pepper sprayed him before absconding with about $500,000 worth of merchandise.

Pasadena police responded to a call about the incident around 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday. Police said they were told four men in ski masks robbed the jewelry store. The attackers fled in a white vehicle, police said.

So far, police have not announced any arrests in connection with the robbery, and the investigation is ongoing.

The store owner said the pepper spray briefly blinded him and gave him breathing issues, so he was unable to give a detailed description of the attackers.

Babikian said he has owned the jewelry store for more than 40 years.

“I don’t even know what I would do tomorrow morning,” an emotional Babikian told Fox 11.

The Los Angeles area has been battling a string of organized retail thefts characterized by large groups of robbers ransacking stores together.


Late last month, police said another group of masked thieves stole $900,000 worth of merchandise from a jewelry store in Irvine just south of Los Angeles and Glendale.

Earlier this month, a mob of up to 50 people in hoodies and masks stole up to $300,000 in luxury merchandise from a Nordstrom in Los Angeles. The thieves also attacked security guards with bear mace.

Three weeks ago, another group of 30 to 40 thieves robbed a Yves Saint Laurent store in southern California in broad daylight, absconding with an estimated $300,000 worth of merchandise, police said. The brazen smash-and-grab robbery was caught on video just before 5 p.m. The store is located at the Americana at Brand mall in Glendale, just north of Los Angeles.

Footage from the Yves Saint Laurent incident shows over a dozen people mostly dressed in dark clothes, hoods, and masks dashing into the store and running out again, their arms full of the expensive merchandise.

In response to the string of robberies, Los Angeles launched a new task force focused on combatting organized retail theft.

Last week, the new task force arrested 11 people in connection with the recent smash-and-grab robberies, included some who were allegedly involved in the Nordstrom and Yves Saint Laurent store robberies.

Detectives on the new task force are investigating at least nine cases involving organized retail crimes.

In Los Angeles, most types of violent crime are down except theft, which is up 15% to over 20,000 thefts compared to this time last year, according to police data.

Since the fall of 2021, Los Angeles County, which includes Pasadena where the jewelry store robbery occurred, has seen at least 170 organized retail thefts, including the smash-and-grab trend, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.

Other West Coast cities have seen a spike in retail theft this year as well, including San Francisco and Seattle.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Another California Smash-And-Grab Sees Thieves Make Off With Half A Million Dollars In Jewelry