Southern California is no stranger to smash-and-grab robberies, but an attempted theft in El Monte didn’t go as planned for one man, and his encounter with employees was all caught on video.
According to the El Monte Police Department, the suspect entered Meza’s Jewelry, located at 10909 Main Street, around 2:20 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
The man allegedly sprayed employees and customers with bear repellent spray and then proceeded to smash display cases and attempt to take merchandise.
Things took a turn when the employees “engaged the suspect” El Monte police said, and a struggle ensued.
Video from the scene shows workers fighting the suspect – whose shirt came off – and hitting him with some sort of metal rod near the store’s front entrance.
The altercation eventually spilled onto the sidewalk, where the two employees eventually chased the man down the street.
He fled the scene in a gray Dodge Charger, police said. He was only described as a 35 to 45-year-old Black man standing at 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighing approximately 270 to 300 pounds.
He is balding with some facial hair, and possibly has a moustache.
It did not appear that any merchandise was taken from the store, but the suspect caused significant damage to display cases.
The incident is still under investigation, and anyone with information is asked to contact the El Monte Police Department.
This attempted smash-and-grab using a spray to impede employees is the latest in a string of burglaries targeting retailers across the Southland; a jewelry store owner in Pasadena was pepper sprayed on Tuesday as thieves stole over $500,000 worth of merchandise from his business.