Fullerton: Burglars steal more than $60,000 in merchandise after breaking into jewelry store

ByGregory Lee via KABC logo
Thursday, March 21, 2019
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Police are searching for a group of burglars who went to great lengths to break into a Fullerton jewelry store.

FULLERTON, Calif. (KABC) -- Police are searching for a group of burglars who went to great lengths to break into a Fullerton jewelry store Monday night.

The owner of Country Club Jewelers said the burglars entered through the roof, rappelled down to the ground using a rope, stole the surveillance system and used a blowtorch to try cutting open a safe.

"I was surprised what I saw because like it was really like a movie," said Joe Tokatli, the owner of the store.

Tokatli met police at the 2200 block of North Harbor on Tuesday morning to find the thieves had stolen more than $60,000 worth of jewelry. One item he hopes will help find them is a distinct 18-karat gold women's Rolex.

"They emptied one showcase in there, with the diamonds and the watches and everything, and they took another showcase full of silver things," said Tokatli.

Tokatli said what surprisesd him the most is that the thieves managed to move the safe, which weighs more than 4,000 pounds. They took it outside, where they eventually abandoned it, likely because they couldn't get it open.

"They opened the back door, and they dragged this safe to the alley which is a very heavy thing," said Tokatli.

Surveillance video from the alley shows two people struggling to wheel the safe out of the store. The video also shows about five or six people in hoods, covering their faces, walking up and down the alley.

Tokatli knows this was a planned heist, he said, because someone shut off the store's electric meter on Sunday.

"The electricity, they turn it off," said Tokatli. "So in 24 hours, the back-up battery for the alarm system, it turned dead."

Tokatli is working with Fullerton police to try and identify the suspects. He said he was not focusing on what they took, but on moving forward.

"We're safe, we're OK," said Tokatli. "Me and my employees in here and we came, today's Wednesday, we came to work again."