CHULA VISTA -- A violent armed robbery took place at a Chula Vista Jewelry store Thursday night when two men stormed the store demanding diamonds and gold.
The holdup at McClendon Jewelers on 3rd Avenue near Davidson Street was reported shortly before closing time at 6 p.m.
Store owner Zaven Abikian was just closing up when the men came in. He told 10News he recognized one of the suspects immediately. Abikian said the same man had been in the store right before closing Wednesday asking several questions. Abikian now realizes he was being cased.
“One of them goes in the back and grabs the jeweler and the watchmaker and he said, ‘this is a robbery,’ and takes them to the bathroom,” Abikian said.
Surveillance from inside the store shows how it started. One man stayed in front while the other, off camera in the back, holds the jeweler and watchmaker hostage.
Abikian says what you can’t see is the second man giving him more reason to be terrified.
“(He) pulled up his shirt and showed me a black gun, a scary one. He says, ‘if you don't want to get shot you better help me pack all these in my bag.’”
Abikian says the suspect made a beeline for the jewelry, helping himself to case after case.
However, what the suspects did not do was make any effort to conceal their faces or wear gloves. Police were inside the store late into the night dusting for fingerprints and collecting evidence.
Abikian says he’s thankful he made it out with his life.
“I was thinking, ‘who's going to take care of my family if something happens?’”
He’s also feeling the loss of tens of thousands of dollars in diamonds and gold.
No one was injured in the robbery. The investigation is ongoing.