Huntington Beach jewelry store targeted in armed robbery – Orange County Register
Thieves targeted a jewelry store at the Bella Terra Mall on Sunday, May 22, police said, panicking workers and shoppers in the third such robbery at an Orange County mall in the past two month.
The robbery took place around noon at Princess Bride Diamonds, 7821 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach police spokeswoman Jennifer Carey said.
The thieves parked in the parking lot of the outdoor mall in a Honda, said an employee of a nearby store who declined to be named for security reasons. He said he saw three or four people wearing ski masks and carrying hammers getting out of the car. One of them was carrying a backpack with a camouflage print.
“As soon as I saw them get out of the car, I knew they were going to rob Princess Bride,” he said.
They were coming and going, he said, in less than a minute.
Justin Lowrie said he was in a garden near the jewelry store when he and several others heard the sound of breaking glass.
“Some of us ran, thinking the broken glass was due to gunshots,” he said.
Brian Lam was working at SomiSomi, an ice cream parlor next to the jewelry store, when the theft took place. He said he heard three loud noises, then saw a person wearing something covering his face running south toward the parking lot.
Later, Lam peeked inside Princess Bride Diamonds and saw that at least two glass display cases had been smashed.
Several Princess Bride employees were present at the time of the incident, Carey said. No one was injured, according to a woman who answered the phone at the jewelry store on Sunday afternoon.
A description of what was taken was not immediately available.
Last month, at least two other jewelry stores in Orange County were victims of robberies. Thieves used hammers to smash glass display cases at Kay Jewelers in Westminster Shopping Center on April 4, and at another branch of that store in Brea Shopping Center on April 15.
As of mid-April, there had been at least 35 armed robberies at jewelry stores in California since May 2021 — a disproportionate number compared to other states, said John Kennedy, president of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance, an organization non-profit industry.
It’s not that California is a bigger state, he said. He attributed the robberies to gangs.
“It’s far from unusual,” he said. “It scares people in the industry.”
This is a developing story. More information will be added as it becomes available.