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Search On For Studio City Pepper Spray Bandits

STUDIO CITY (CBSLA) — A smash-and-grab crew busted into a jewelry store armed with hammers and pepper spray but what they didn't know is the owner had a gun.

The attempted smash-and-grab at Dana Kathryn Jewelry in Studio City took place on May 25th.

Security video shows one man unloading a canister of pepper spray on the owner and two customers. Then, a guy with a hat pulls out a hammer and starts to bash the display cases.

Victoria Offerman ran to help after hearing the commotion next door.

"We all work so hard and it's not fair for someone to come in and take what's not theirs," said Offerman, an employee at Emerald Forest.

Police say the store owner stayed calm even though the guy with the shaved head swung a hammer at her while she was out of camera view.

"That changed the game there. Turned basically from a smash and grab burglary into a robbery," said LAPD Det. Jennifer Hammer.

That man then turned his hammer on the front door when he realized he needed to be buzzed out.

That gave the owner enough time to get her registered gun and fire off a shot before the men escaped.

When police got there they had to put on protective suits because of the pepper spray.

"It was a heavy duty pepper spray. It's not your usual small canister. It's like the kind you would use for a bear," said Hammer.

The men weren't able to steal anything because their hammers didn't break through the cases.

The store owner declined to be interviewed but Offerman says people in this shopping center are closer than ever.

"I believe in the power of this community and that if everyone can see this video and see these men," said Offerman. "If anyone recognizes them to bring these men to justice."

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