Jewelry store owner pepper-sprayed during robbery

Pasadena police are searching for the thieves that ransacked a jewelry store and pepper-sprayed its owner Tuesday afternoon.(KCAL, KCBS, JEWELS ON LAKE, CNN)
Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 8:29 AM CDT
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PASADENA, Calif. (KCAL/KCBS) - The owners of a jewelry store were left picking up the pieces of the jewelry left behind after a smash-and-grab robbery in Pasadena, California.

Sam Bibikiam’s family patted his eyes dry after he was pepper-sprayed during the robbery at his store, Jewels on Lake.

“The most important is my life, that’s not taken,” Bibikam said.

What was taken was over $500,000 worth of customer jewelry that Bibikiam hand-crafted himself.

“Every piece I make I put in the showcase, it’s part of me you know,” Bibikiam said. “I’ve been a jeweler for 48 years, I make them all special.”

He said he usually presses a button to unlock the front door for customers.

Bibikiam said he thinks the three suspects, who wore ski masks and gloves, must have staked the place out, because they made their way in when he held the door open for another customer who was leaving and made quick work of cleaning him out.

“Entered the store and broke several display cases with hammers,” Police Lt. Monica Cuellar said.

Investigators said this area is usually very safe and this might be one of the biggest jewelry heists Pasadena has ever seen.

“I would say there’s an uptick in thefts but this type of smash and grab, no we don’t see those very often,” Cuellar said.

The suspects hopped into a getaway car that police are now searching for.

Bibikiam said he never thought this would happen to him here.

“It’s hard to see it’s gone. I don’t know what my future holds, I don’t know what I will do tomorrow,” he said.