Posted on: January 13, 2022 Posted by: Ariel Tattum Comments: 0

Horrifying surveillance footage shows the moment a gang of hammer-wielding thugs swiped upward of $110,000 in jewelry from a California mall. 

Nine men stormed a San Jose shopping center January 3 and began smashing glass display cases at three stores as terrified employees ran for cover. 

The thieves, whose faces were obscured by masks and hoodies, made off with gold necklaces and other valuables; they remained on the loose Monday.

It was the latest in a series of smash-and-grab attacks throughout California that critics blame on justice reform initiatives and soft-on-crime approaches to misdemeanors.

Last week’s brazen burglary – which police characterized as a ‘takeover robbery’ – happened in Santa Clara County, where District Attorney Jeff Rosen is a ‘nationally-recognized leader in criminal justice reform,’ according to his online bio.

Eric Orozco – whose store Heart of Gold was targeted in the heist – said he lost between $50,000 and $100,000 of merchandise in the robbery.

The infuriated businessman is now joining the chorus of Californians demanding stricter punishment for the state’s criminals.

Pictured: A group of men use sledgehammers to try to smash open a display case containing jewelry during a January 3 mall heist in San Jose, California

Orozco, who spent a decade building his business, said being robbed was an eye-opening experience.

‘I talked to police and this is where I learned they’re too soft,’ Orozco told DailyMail.com. ‘The police told me, ‘we kind of have to let the thieves keep stealing because once they get to court, if there hasn’t been enough stealing or damage, they’re going to get too short of a sentence and they’re going to be out and stealing again.’

‘That was just mind blowing. They’re letting me know they’re going to let these guys come and rob me and other stores so they can rack up the amount of theft [needed to prosecute].’ 

Orozco’s dad suffered a head wound during the robbery after he and another man chased the thieves away.

Eric Orozco, whose store Heart of Gold was targeted in the heist, said he lost between $50,000 and $100,000 of merchandise in the robbery

Eric Orozco, whose store Heart of Gold was targeted in the heist, said he lost between $50,000 and $100,000 of merchandise in the robbery

Pictured: display cases that one held gold necklaces at Heart of Gold were shattered and empty following the heist

Pictured: display cases that one held gold necklaces at Heart of Gold were shattered and empty following the heist

At nearby Joyeria Guerro, employees heard thieves shouting ‘get on the ground’ before they raided the store and stole about $10,000 in jewelry, owner Rocio Gomez told The Mercury News.  

‘They heard the men say, ‘Close the doors, get everything inside!’ And that’s when we started screaming,’ she said.

San Jose Police Department spokesman Sergeant Christian Camarillo said he had ‘nothing else to share’ about the case Monday, but told DailyMail.com that the culprits will face felony charges if arrested.

His colleague Steve Aponte described the crime as a ‘takeover robbery.’  

‘A takeover robbery is very different from a standard smash-and-grab or what we’ve seen recently with retail mall thefts,’ Aponte told NBC Bay Area.  ‘These individuals actually forced their way into the store. And by saying takeover robbery, they demanded everybody to get on the ground. 

They forced people who were present, including staff members, to do their will. And in doing so, they were able to take over, break the glass, take away the stuff that they wanted to take.’ 

The criminals involved are said to have cased the same shopping center days prior to the attack, and at one stage tried to rush its doors – only to be locked out by staff.

That incident is said to have left workers there worried and on edge, with their worst fears coming to fruition shortly afterwards.  

Employees at one store heard thieves shouting 'get on the ground' before they raided the store and stole about $10,000 in jewelry

Employees at one store heard thieves shouting ‘get on the ground’ before they raided the store and stole about $10,000 in jewelry

Police said the culprits will face felony charges if nabbed; they remained on the loose Monday

Police said the culprits will face felony charges if nabbed; they remained on the loose Monday

Overall violent crime in San Jose was up 11 percent in San Jose year-over-year through November, according to department data.

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen is a bail reform proponent

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen is a bail reform proponent 

Robberies were up 5.6 percent as aggravated assaults spiked 11 percent and rapes rose 28 percent. Homicides were down 21 percent year-over-year.

The department reported a seven percent decrease in property crimes, with vehicle thefts down 8.3 percent and burglaries down 4.8 percent.

Rosen, the county’s top prosecutor, sponsored and successfully lobbied for California’s Money Bail Reform Act, which changed the state’s release pretrial release system from cash-based to risk-based.

He was one of three elected district attorneys to endorse a proposition to reform California’s ‘three strikes law,’  which reduces jail sentences for inmates serving life sentences for ‘non violent’ third strike crimes.

He also supports diversion programs for non-violent offenders, but a spokesman for his office said the perps responsible for last week’s jewelry theft would not be eligible for the program because their crimes were felonies.

Overall violent crime in San Jose was up 11 percent in San Jose year-over-year through November, according to department data. Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen is a bail reform proponent Robberies were up 5.6 percent as aggravated assaults spiked 11 percent and rapes rose 28 percent. Homicides were down 21 percent year-over-year.

Overall violent crime in San Jose was up 11 percent in San Jose year-over-year through November, according to department data. Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen is a bail reform proponent Robberies were up 5.6 percent as aggravated assaults spiked 11 percent and rapes rose 28 percent. Homicides were down 21 percent year-over-year.

Overall violent crime in San Jose was up 11 percent in San Jose year-over-year through November, according to department data.

Robberies were up 5.6 percent as aggravated assaults spiked 11 percent and rapes rose 28 percent. Homicides were down 21 percent year-over-year.

In nearby San Francisco, vehicle break-ins have become so commonplace over the past year that some desperate car owners have resorted to leaving their trunks open to avoid having the windows smashed by thieves.

A photo taken last month in San Francisco showed two SUVs parked side by side with their trunks ajar and no one inside the vehicles.

A similar trend also has been observed in Oakland, which has seen a spike in car break-ins and auto thefts as part of a larger crime wave that has engulfed the Bay Area, with homicides, assaults and thefts all skyrocketing. 

The Bay Area experienced a spat of smash-and-grab robberies during the past year in a trend that accelerated after a group of thieves stole at least $150,000 in designer handbags from a Palo Alto Nieman Marcus.

A map shows the locations of some of the major smash-and-grab robberies that have recently taken place in California

A map shows the locations of some of the major smash-and-grab robberies that have recently taken place in California

The situation became so dire throughout the year that it prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to denounce the looting trend in her hometown of San Francisco as ‘absolutely outrageous.’ 

Pelosi called out what she termed an ‘attitude of lawlessness’ in the country as mobs of robbers have targeted luxury boutiques and major retailers San Francisco as well as other parts of California and nation.

In Southern California, Los Angeles police arrested 14 people last November in connection with 11 recent smash-and-grab robberies at stores, where nearly $340,000 worth of merchandise was stolen.

A Los Angeles Nordstrom, a Lululemon in Studio City, a Fairfax district store, and a CVS pharmacy in South Los Angeles were among the stores hit.

However, due to county’s zero-bail policies, the suspects were all released within hours of being handcuffed.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10387569/Robbers-armed-hammers-steal-jewelry-San-Jose-shops-latest-California-smash-grab.html