Armed robbers target Fashion Valley jewelry store
Brooklyn Dippo | News Editor
Five masked men attempted to rob a Fashion Valley jewelry store last weekend until their plan was derailed by a vigilant security guard, according to San Diego Police. Police believe that the would-be robbers may have had a getaway driver that left them behind.
The outdoor mall, which is just over a mile away from the University of San Diego, boasts over 200 stores and restaurants. On the evening of April 2, the sound of bullets ringing out alarmed many patrons and a few stores went into lockdown. However, the only gun that was fired belonged to the security guard at Royal Maui Jewelers.
This is not the first time that the Royal Maui Jewelers has been targeted. In October 2011 an armed robber held up an employee at gunpoint and got away with watches worth well over 10 thousand of dollars. In July 2013, the shop was hit again by an armed robber who also demanded high end watches.
A kiosk worker told the San Diego Union Tribune that five black men entered the mall dressed in all black clothing, with their faces covered, and with duffel bags in hand. The Royal Maui Jewelers security guard fired bullets but none of the men were hit and they fled the mall empty handed. One of the robbers dropped a handgun outside the shop that the security guard quickly picked up.
At this point their plan was foiled and police responded to reports of five men running across Highway 163. The highway was shut down for 90 minutes causing major traffic jams while police looked for suspects.
An officer arrested one man at gunpoint who he spotted on his way to the scene. A police helicopter spotted a second man hiding in bushes and when he refused to surrender they let a police dog loose on him. He was bitten and then arrested and taken to the hospital to be treated.
Meanwhile, at the mall, both the Apple Store and Banana Republic had locked their doors and instructed customers to hide in the back following the sound of the security guard’s gunfire.
Junior Irina Gedarevich is concerned about the armed robbery so close to the USD campus.
“I find this incident very horrifying, especially since it happened in my community,” Gedarevich said. “Luckily this time, security was able to stop them before anything worse happened, but unfortunately that is not usually the case. People should not have to live in fear that something like this could happen while they’re out shopping.”
Police did not find the other three suspects. Royal Maui Jewelers, however, did find a worthwhile investment. The addition of a security guard prevented what would have been the third armed robbery at the store, and may have saved lives.