When criminal smash-and-grab incidents escape punishment and barely register with law enforcement, business owners face two choices: passively observe or take action.
In El Monte, California, the employees of Meza’s Jewelry are gaining widespread attention for opting to take action. As reported by KABC-TV, workers at this Los Angeles-area jewelry store thwarted an attempted smash-and-grab robbery over the weekend, confronting the would-be thief in broad daylight.
The incident occurred just after 2 p.m. on Saturday, as reported by the station.
“The incident began when a man came in armed with a hammer and smashed a display case, according to employees,” the report said.
“Police say he used pepper spray on the workers, who are family members.”
That’s when the situation took a turn for the worse for the suspected smash-and-grabber.
According to KTLA-TV, a report from the El Monte police described the employees as “confronting the suspect,” which is a rather mild description.
“Video from the scene shows workers fighting the suspect — whose shirt came off — and hitting him with some sort of metal rod near the store’s front entrance,” the station detailed.
“The altercation eventually spilled onto the sidewalk, where the two employees eventually chased the man down the street.”
In the midst of the escape, the thief even came close to losing his pants.
A worker told KABC, “Me, my uncle and my dad were tugging him out. I was trying to defend my family because as you could see he was hitting my dad and my uncle.”
Employees who suffered minor injuries were treated; no arrests have been made.
Nonetheless, this recent incident of smash-and-grab thefts prompts a broader question, as observed by a social media account: “Is this what should be expected when the looting of stores without challenge is permitted?”
Is this what should be expected when the looting of stores without challenge is permitted?🤔— Crime in NYC (@CrimeInNYC) September 3, 2023
El Monte in Los Angeles County
Employees at an El Monte jewelry store punched, kicked and used a stick to fight back and chase off a suspected… pic.twitter.com/oL71uwOb5U
Those who deny the existence of this issue in California are either uninformed about current events or believe that these audacious robberies stem from social disintegration within an unequal society, rather than a profound moral lapse.
Regrettably, the latter group often constitutes a significant portion of the California electorate, supporting policies and politicians who approach theft, particularly from a law enforcement perspective, with a leniency akin to someone casually smoking a joint at a music concert.
If you believe that the outcomes of such policies have been anything other than foreseeable, it’s likely that your last name is Soros with at least a 25 percent probability.
Consider this incident from a 7-Eleven store located on El Segundo Boulevard in Los Angeles last year, which came to symbolize a more significant issue afflicting the state:
‘Flash Mob’ Looters Ransack Convenient Store after Street Takeover— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) August 18, 2022
On August 15 around 12:40am a street takeover initiated at Figueroa and El Segundo. The spectators then formed a ‘flash mob’ of looters and rushed a nearby 7-Eleven.
News Release: https://t.co/3IZOBqk0H6 pic.twitter.com/ti0SNqc9Jr
It’s hardly astonishing, therefore, that we are witnessing occurrences like this one, where employees at a Stockton, California 7-Eleven took a stand against a thief who was emptying the shelves and refused to cease, while a bystander nonchalantly remarked to the workers, “You have insurance? … Ain’t nothing you can do, man.”
Indeed, they took action:
😂😂 Got Insurance? Whoopin Yo Ass!— TheQuestion (@TheQuestion5150) August 3, 2023
Black Shoplifter, behind counter at 7-Eleven in Stockton, CA using rolling trash can to steal cigarettes.
Being filmed by another black man, who says to two Indian Workers,
“You got Insurance”?
“You can’t do nothing!”
“Whoopin Yo Ass” pic.twitter.com/SA0e8cE7AL
According to KTVU-TV, the 7-Eleven employees will not be charged for their actions during the incident that occurred on July 28th.
Nevertheless, these situations should never have arisen in the first instance. While the employees of the El Monte jewelry store and the Stockton 7-Eleven were lauded as heroes, the reality is that we require a system where retaliatory actions are not delegated to store workers.
Rather than relying on individuals to mete out justice, California could effectively address its issues with smash-and-grab thefts by implementing substantial deterrents and refraining from treating criminals as candidates for rehabilitation.
It’s commendable to witness these individuals defending themselves and their businesses, but it would be far more preferable if such actions weren’t necessary in the first place.