Thieves steal nearly $250K worth of watches from jeweler during smash-and-grab

Thieves stole nearly $250,000 worth of watches from a Southern California jeweler during a recent smash-and-grab. (Source: KCAL, KCBS, JEWELERS ON TIME, CNN)
Published: Sep. 16, 2023 at 3:22 PM CDT
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NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (KCAL) - A smash-and-grab robbery took less than 20 seconds when thieves struck a jewelry store in Southern California.

The target: Hundreds of thousands of dollars in Rolex watches.

“I just thought hopefully no one in the store gets hurt,” said employee Kenny Nguyen.

He was working the jewelry counter at the time of the robbery at the Newport Beach location.

The store has a locked steel security door, and employees buzz in every customer.

But a man in the store seemed to have a plan as he held the door open as a crew stormed the shop.

“He held the door open, and three other accomplices came in smashing the display cases,” Nguyen said.

Security cameras caught the group in action, with the man looking unfazed while holding the security gate for three masked suspects wearing all black.

One of the men can be seen using a hammer to break the glass while the other two grab trays of watches and throw them into bags.

“When I saw the three guys run in, I ran into the back and told my partner to hit the silent alarm,” Nguyen said.

Within seconds, the group was gone with nearly two dozen watches worth about $250,000.

The store’s owner says his employees were shaken up.

While the glass is now cleaned up, signs of the smash-and-grab are still at Alberto Frosio’s store.

The main display case is empty, with tape holding it together.

Frosio says other jewelry stores in the area have also been hit recently.

“You have to buzz people in. You cannot tell people to go away,” Frosio said. “It’s a problem, but we have to handle it. We have to live with it.”

Fortunately, no one was hurt in the robbery.

Frosio says he has insurance, but he’s upset because the thieves stole items that hold many memories for his clients.

Currently, police don’t have any leads on the robbery suspects.