A Pasadena jeweler is recovering – physically and mentally – after three robbers attacked him with pepper spray before making off with more than $500,000 in merchandise.
The smash-and-grab robbery happened just before 2 p.m. Tuesday at Jewels on Lake on the 400 block of S. Lake Avenue. Owner Samuel Babikian said he was walking a customer to the door when he was ambushed.
“As soon as I opened the door so she can go out, they pepper sprayed me on my eyes and my mouth, and I couldn’t see nothing,” Babikian said.
The robbers shattered cases and stole more than a half-million dollars’ worth of jewelry in about three minutes.
“They had hammers, smashed the cases, took what they can and then ran out the door,” Pasadena Police Department Lt. Monica Cuellar said.
Pasadena police say the store’s surveillance cameras captured the robbery. That footage is part of their investigation.
The masked thieves got away with almost every piece of jewelry in the store.
Babikian said he’s been a jeweler since the age of 13. He added that he arrived in the U.S. from Lebanon with just $10 in his pocket but managed to build a life for himself. His jewelry store, which he’s owned for nearly 20 years, is his pride and joy.
“I feel confused. I feel I don’t know what I should do tomorrow to come to the store for what, because most of the jewelry is gone,” Babikian said.
He said the moments during the attack – where he couldn’t see, even to run away – were terrifying, and his heart goes out to other store owners who have been victims of similar crimes.
“Hopefully I will be the last one, “Babikian said. “That’s what my prayers are.”
Source: NBC Los Angeles