Suspect sought in wild South El Monte smash-and-grab

SOUTH EL MONTE, Calif. (KABC) -- Police on Monday were searching for a man who pulled off a brazen jewelry store robbery in South El Monte after bashing in a glass case and grabbing what he could.

Surveillance video shows a suspect wearing a white construction hat and running up to a jewelry counter. He smashes the glass with a hammer and scoops up a handful of gold chains.

The robbery happened Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.

"He had a hammer in (his) right hand, he had a knife in (his) left hand, and he hit the glass about four, five times, I think, and then he grabbed the chain and ran," said co-owner of Queen Jewelry, Ted Park.

Park said he lunged at the robber, not immediately aware that the masked man was armed with a knife.

Customers were seen just a few feet away from the suspect, and a terrified employee of the jewelry store ran as the robber started swinging the hammer.

Park said it all happened in less than 30 seconds. The suspect got away with at least $20,000 worth of 14 carat gold chains.

Park said he hopes video from recently installed cameras will help police capture the crook.

"Nobody hurt, thank God," he said. "Something I lose (is) business."
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