Riverside smash-and-grab robbers steal thousands in jewelry as owner opens fire

Monday, February 19, 2024
Riverside jewelry store owner chases off robbers with gunfire
Video shows one of the startled robbers fall to the ground and drop his hammer as the owner opened fire.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- Two robbers got away with thousands of dollars in jewelry in a brazen smash-and-grab even as the Riverside store's owner chased them off with gunfire.

The incident was captured on surveillance video Saturday morning at the Canyon Crest Towne Center.

The two masked suspects are seen casually walking into Geneva Jewelry, apparently getting in through a locked door that didn't fully close after the last person entered. They immediately start smashing glass display cabinets with hammers.

One shocked customer tries to escape through the front door but can't get it open, then she scrambles past the suspects to exit out the back door.

Moments later the store's owner opens fire at the suspects, attemping to scare them off but not directly strike them. One shot struck the ground and another smashed the store's window as the startled suspect falls to the ground on his way out.

"He shot once at the ground. Immediately as he shot at the ground, they ran," said Michelangelo Torchia, the owner's son. "One of the guys, you'll see in the surveillance video, he fell to the floor, scared. grabbed his hammer because he dropped his hammer and one of our bracelets he was stealing."

The owners, in business since 1989, say they are shaken by the robbery but grateful no one was hurt.

Riverside police are actively working leads in the case and are attempting to identify the robbers. A spokesperson for the department said it does not appear the store owner acted criminally when firing at the robbers.

"If you believe that your safety, or the safety of someone around you, is in immediate danger, that's when you need to make that decision as to whether you're going to use that firearm or not," said Riverside Officer Ryan Railsback.

Railsback also acknowledged the growing frustration among business owners and law enforcement alike with the rise in smash-and-grab robberies.

"The frustration is amongst many people here, and business owners up and down the state, with what appears to be lack of consequences," he added. "What is causing these suspects to feel that they can just go into any business, and take whatever they want, and walk out like it's theirs like it's nothing?"