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Terrifying jewelry store hold-up may be part of series

Posted at 6:18 PM, Feb 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 21:18:28-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego Police are investigating similarities in a series of jewelry store hold-ups.

Bert Levi Family Jewelers on University Avenue in Hillcrest is the fourth jewelry store targeted since December.

A female employee was sitting at the register Monday when three masked men stormed in just before 5 p.m.

"He came and pulled my hair from the back, he put a gun, and he said don't do anything, I'm gonna shoot you, and then I just closed my eyes, " said the employee.

Surveillance video shows the three men storm into the store. One is carrying bolt cutters, the second appears to be pointing a gun, and the third man has a duffel bag. In minutes, they smashed the display cases and made off with a stash of cash and engagement rings.

"I see a second guy running in a different direction, and he was actually running towards me, and I noticed he was actually carrying a lot of stuff in his hands and it was just unusual; everything was happening so fast," said Hector Hernandez who works at the nearby optometry store.

Hernandez was crossing the parking lot when one of the thieves ran straight for him.

"He was running toward me. I just stood still hoping he would keep on running and as he was getting close to me, I basically just swatted off the stuff he had in his hands," said Hernandez.

The thief dropped the cash and roughly four trays of engagement rings, and kept running.

"It happened so fast. I was thinking maybe I should at least tackle the guy, at least we could have caught one guy, but once I found out they had guns, maybe it wouldn't have been such a good idea," said Hernandez.

The shopping center, located in the 1000 block of University Avenue, has at least one unarmed security guard on patrol. Bert Levi is a family owned business, passed down three generations. The owners are confident the thieves will be caught.

"Let's just say, I'm pissed. You've got three hoodlums. I don't care who they are, I'd like to know who raised you. You three are the scum. And I mean scum," said Gloria Levi.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.