Family-owned Agoura Hills gelato shop burglarized by masked vandals

AGOURA HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- Police are looking for two burglars who were caught on camera smashing their way through a gelato shop in Agoura Hills.

Surveillance video inside the TIFA Chocolate & Gelato store captured the suspects, who pushed a cash register onto the floor and one of them used a sledgehammer in an attempt to open it. They were unable to do so and took off with the register before Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies arrived.

The owners said a few hundred dollars were in the register at the time of the burglary.

The owners added that there has been some crime in the area recently, including a pizza shop just a couple of doors down that was burglarized about a month ago. But for the gelato shop, this incident is only the second time in more than a decade that they've been burglarized.

"It's not about the stuff or the money, it's just about the violation, you know? You just feel violated," owner Mike Ashamalla said. "This is not our home, but we spend as much time here as we do in our own home. So it's the same as if somebody's breaking into your home."

Ashamalla is hoping releasing the security footage will lead to the suspects' arrest.

"I would hope if not them, maybe a friend of theirs, or somebody else sees this and has heard them bragging maybe about their smash-and-grab and grabbing somebody's cash register and maybe feels guilty about what happens to the people on the other end, who the victims are and maybe turns them in," Ashamalla said.

Despite the crime, Ashamalla and his wife are staying optimistic. They're hoping additional surveillance video from the shopping center captured the suspects' getaway car.

An investigation is ongoing.
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