It was “just another day” at a Valley Village jewelry store when masked men entered the store, began smashing cases with hammers and pepper-spraying employees and a customer.
The incident, caught in a dramatic surveillance video recording, left the owners of Valley Discount Jewelers at 12119 Magnolia Blvd. very disturbed — and out hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise.
“The whole thing is crazy. It happened so fast, you don’t realize what’s going on,” said Tommy Kalajian, the son of the owners. “They were in and out in 2 minutes — managed to get away with a lot too.”
Kalajian said the Oct. 31 daytime robbery occurred after a woman in her mid-20s, who appeared to be Latina, held the door of the store open for three men who entered and immediately began a violent robbery.
There was nothing to raise suspicion about the female customer who held open the door, Kalajian said, but video showed her get into an escape car with the robbers.
Surveillance video showed three hooded men enter the store and smash cases with hammers, tossing jewelry display panels into zippered plastic bags. They targeted the “most expensive case,” Kalajian said, speculating that they knew what they were looking for.
“Those are where I keep my big diamonds, or did,” Kalajian said.
One of the men pushed a customer off a chair and down to the ground.
The woman, a 64-year-old customer, broke her shoulder, Kalajian said.
Another man followed Kalajian and his mother as they ran to the back of the store, looking for a safe place — and the panic button to alert police, Kalajian said.
“She got grabbed by her hair, pepper sprayed. The guy turns around, pepper sprays me in the face, tells me to lay down. He’s dragging her by her hair,” Kalajian recalled.
Lt. McNeill Gardner of the Los Angeles Police Department’s North Hollywood Division told the Los Angeles Daily News on Oct. 31 that investigators were still working the case, and anyone with information was asked to call the North Hollywood police station at 818-623-4016.