A smash-and-grab robbery attempt at a jewelry store in Bella Terra mall in Huntington Beach resulted in a melee as the store’s employees refused to let the business be ransacked without a fight.
At about noon on Sunday, four hooded robbers entered Princess Bride Diamonds and began using hammers to smash display cases full of valuable jewelry.
The employees, including a brother and sister who work for their father at the family-owned business, responded by punching and kicking the attackers.
One young woman even smashed an intruder over the head with a chair.
Within seconds, the thieves decided to retreat.
They ended up taking about $7,700 worth of jewelry from the store, according to Huntington Beach police spokeswoman Jennifer Carey.
The Baca family has been in the diamond business for years, but this was the first such attack they faced.
“We had an idea that it could happen, but it’s always different when it actually does happen,” said employee Dallas Baca.
Baca added that the focus was on forcing the intruders to leave.
“At some point while I was fighting them, one of them actually hit me in the head with a hammer, on the side of my left temple, but I didn’t even register it until after they left because there was so much like adrenaline going on,” Baca added.
“I’m just glad everyone’s OK. I’m glad that our team banded together and we were able to put up a fight and stop what was happening,” added fellow employee Sarah Baca, who confirmed they called police immediately after the attack.
Sarah Baca was also the employee who struck an attacker with a chair as he was targeting Lily, another employee.
“I picked up a chair and I hit the one guy in the head that was attacking Lily,” Sarah Baca said.
Other workers in the mall said the attack had everyone in the mall on edge, but they’re happy the jewelry store workers fought back.
“We were kind of freaking out. Everybody was scrambling around, so I just told everybody to come in our shop,” said Kyle Sary, who works at a nearby surf shop. “I guess they walked in the store, broke some things but the family fought them off, so good for them, right?”