Smash-and-grab California: Jewelry store employees fight back, chase off suspected thief

ByAmy Powell KABC logo
Tuesday, September 5, 2023
California jewelry store employees chase off suspected thief
Jewelry store employees in El Monte, CA fought off a suspected thief, and much of it was caught on video.

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

El Monte police say the attempted robbery happened 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 gets away.

The incident began when a man came in armed with a hammer and smashed a display case, according to employees. Police say he used pepper spray on the workers, who are family members.

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

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"Me, my uncle and my dad were tugging him out," an employee told ABC Los Angeles affiliate KABC. "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 his shirt off.

Police say several workers were treated for minor injuries.

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