Jewelry store owners fight off suspect during smash-and-grab attempt in El Monte, new video shows

Leanne Suter Image
Tuesday, September 5, 2023
Jewelry store owners fight off would-be smash-and-grab robbery: Video
Newly released surveillance video shows jewelry store owners fighting off a would-be thief during an attempted smash-and-grab robbery in El Monte.

EL MONTE, Calif. (KABC) -- Employees at an El Monte jewelry store punched, kicked and used a stick to fight back and chase off a suspect during an attempted smash-and-grab robbery, newly released surveillance video shows.

El Monte police said the incident occurred Saturday around 2:12 p.m. at Meza's Jewelry on Main Street.

Video posted on social media, which is now part of a police investigation, shows employees fighting back against the suspect before he flees out the front door and runs off empty-handed.

The confrontation began when a man came in armed with a hammer and smashed a display case, according to employees. Police said he used pepper spray on the workers, all of whom are related employees at the family-owned business.

Employees at an El Monte jewelry store punched, kicked and used a stick to fight back and chase off a suspected thief.

The tables were turned when the family decided to take matters into their own hands.

"Me, my uncle and my dad were tugging him out," said one employee, who declined to be identified publicly. "I was trying to defend my family because as you could see he was hitting my dad and my uncle."

Footage showed employees punching and using a stick to hit the suspect near the store's entrance. The suspect is able to open the door and flee the scene, but not before an employee pulls the suspect's shirt off.

Said another worker: "We work so much. We weren't going to let someone come grab your stuff. We knew someday it would happen. It's been happening all over California. We knew it was going to happen."

Several of the workers were treated for minor injuries, police said. They said they recognized the suspect as someone who came into the store three weeks earlier and asked to see their most expensive items.

The suspect remains on the loose and police are investigating the incident.