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Campbell Jewelry Store Owner Frustrated by Repeat Smash-and-Grab Heists

CAMPBELL (KPIX) -- A Campbell jewelry shop has been burglarized for a fourth time, prompting the owner to demand more help and stronger enforcement from Campbell police.

"It shouldn't be happening this much. It's too much! At some point, you gotta say something is going on and we need to do something," said Aaron Peleg, owner of Geoffrey's Diamond & Goldsmith.

Surveillance video shows three suspects breaking into the store at 350 E. Campbell Avenue around 3 a.m. Friday. As the thieves repeatedly smashed the laminated security glass, the noise and commotion triggered an alarm, which rang for the duration of the burglary. According to Peleg, the suspects took approximately 90 seconds to force their way through the heavy security glass.

Once inside, the three burglars ransacked the store, smashing glass cases with a heavy, blunt tool and filling sacks with merchandise. All told, the loss was about a half-million dollars and the thieves were at the store for a total of five minutes, ten seconds. Peleg said the thieves have become increasingly bold and he is fed up.

"They weren't even afraid. They were taking their time. I mean look at how many smashed cases. It's insane! To take your time, it means you don't have fear. It means that they know if the police come down here it's 'OK, they'll let me go. Nothing is going to happen.' So when you have that kind of attitude, you can do anything," Peleg said.

With the increased demand on glass, construction materials and labor, repairs will be delayed for weeks and the store will be closed indefinitely.

Insurance will cover an unknown amount of the stolen inventory. According to Peleg, the recovery costs continue to mount, since the insurance deductible is $10,000 but the repairs themselves are not covered.

Peleg suggested stationing an officer in the downtown corridor during overnight hours.

"When I say we're frustrated for the victims -- and we are -- we sympathize with them, we really do. And there is a frustration at our level of having to see repeat victims," said Campbell police Capt. Ian White.

White said stationing an officer in the downtown officer was not "fiscally possible" given the department's current staffing levels. White acknowledged the new realities of police work in the current climate of national reform of the criminal justice system, carried out during a worldwide pandemic.

"Due to the pandemic, we changed to a zero-bail process. And we've seen that, with many of the arrests we've made -- not just related to burglary -- but with other crimes involving firearms, where people are getting released fairly quickly from custody," White said.

"We ask to be part of the change that's occurring and we have to work to continue to find innovative ways to keep the community safe with our criminal justice partners, like the courts and the prosecutor's office and we're doing that. It's an active conversation. I don't know where it will end up but I know that, wherever it ends up, it's going to be done and as a team effort," White said.

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