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Employees who thwarted would-be thieves in Huntington Beach jewelry store smash-and-grab hailed as heroes

Huntington Beach jewelry store targeted for smash-and-grab robbery
Huntington Beach jewelry store targeted for smash-and-grab robbery 02:03

Authorities were investigating an attempted smash-and-grab robbery at a jewelry store in Huntington Beach that was thwarted by the employees in the shop at the time. 

They were dispatched to the Bella Terra shopping center in Huntington Beach just after noon Sunday, upon hearing reports of a robbery at a local jewelry store, Princess Bride Diamonds.

"My jewelers are absolute savages," one customer wrote in an Instagram post that included surveillance video that shows employees fighting off the four intruders.

One of the culprits smashed a display case and began reaching for merchandise, but the employees quickly descended on the group, pushing them back toward the door.

Siblings Sarah and Dallas Baca,  whose family owns the store, attacked the would-be thieves, fighting them off. 

Dallas said he got hit on the head with a hammer during the scuffle. 

Sarah used a chair to fend off an intruder who was struggling with another employee.

"I'm glad that our team banded together, and we were able to put up a fight and stop what was happening," she said.

According to investigators with the Huntington Beach Police Department, four suspects entered the store and smashed a pair of display cases before they were confronted.

"It's our family store. It's our family business and livelihood," Sarah said. "We felt like the right to protect it."

The four robbers got away with about $7,700 in valuables, said Jennifer Carey, a spokeswoman for the city's police department.

Despite the praise for the employees who confronted the robbers, police do not recommend engaging with suspects, she said.

"If you're ever in that kind of circumstance call 911 -- fortunately, no one was injured," Carey said. "It's always best to err on the side of caution."

Surveillance footage from inside of the store shows Sarah, Dallas, and another employee fending off the attempted robbers in the entrance of the store before the suspects fled from the scene. 

"It's cool to see them fight back. That was awesome!" said David Clark a shopper at Bella Terra Sunday evening, who, along with his fiancée Audrey Tate, share a special connection with the folks at the jewelry store. 

They recognized one person specifically from the surveillance footage -- the man consulted with them as they picked their engagement ring -- fighting off the suspects.

"We live across the way and David got our engagement ring from here so we care a lot about the staff," Tate said. "We're just sad to see what happened."

"We respected him already, but I thought that was so cool for him to fight them off like that," Clark concluded. 

Authorities disclosed that the search for the four suspects was still ongoing.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department arrested three suspects after a smash-and-grab robbery at the Whitwood Towne Center Mall in Whittier. The suspects would have made off with $250,000 worth of jewelry but deputies, Whittier police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were waiting outside for them.

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