Workers Fend Off Attempted Heist Of California Jewelry Store

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Four intruders armed with hammers attempted to rob a Southern California jewelry store but were blocked by employees who fought back.

The Orange County Register reports four people dressed in black burst into Princess Bride Diamonds at noon on Sunday in a busy outdoor shopping mall in Huntington Beach and smashed a display case.

Employees rushed forward and kicked at the intruders, and one used a chair to fend off the heist.

The suspects fled and no major injuries were reported, Huntington Beach police said.

An hour later, another smash and grab robbery occurred about 7 miles (11 kilometers) away at Don Roberto's Jewelry Store in Santa Ana, police said. In that incident, four thieves took $7,000 in jewelry.

Three suspects were arrested in connection with the Santa Ana heist.

It was not immediately clear whether the incidents in the two cities were connected.

Jewelry stores in Orange County have been robbed recently with thieves using hammers to break open display cases, and at least 35 smash-and-grab robberies were reported in California between May 2021 and April 2022, said John Kennedy, president of the Jewelers' Security Alliance.

“That’s way off the charts of being unusual,” he told the paper. “It scares people in the industry.”