In a crime dubbed “opportunistic” by San Diego police, an unknown man stole an engagement ring from a La Jolla jewerly store after he led employees to believe he was shopping for rings.
The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) said the suspect – clad in a bright, neon green polo shirt, blue hat and plaid shorts – visited the Bowers Jewelry store at 7860 Girard Ave. on Jan. 9 under the ruse that he was hunting for an engagement ring.
"[He] asked about the diamonds, asked about the ring settings, asked about the price," said store owner Larry Bowers. "Told me that he was going to marry a woman who was more financially well-off than he was, so he needed a ring to impress her."
After being in the jewelry shop for about an hour, police said the man was left along with an engagement ring for a moment.
It was long enough for him to strike.
The suspect slyly grabbed the ring and made his exit.
"He saw the oppurtinty with the front door and quickly -- not dramatically, not jumping up with great effort and running at full speed -- and quickly walked out the front door and jumped on the bicycle," said Bowers.
A surveillance camera captured clear images of the man during his visit to the La Jolla business, including his eccentric dress. Those photos were released by the police department Friday, along with details of the heist.
Despite the loss, Bowers is still keeping his sense of humor.
"If anything, we can accuse him of having very poor fashion sense," the owner said. "He was dressed not badly, but strangely."
Investigators believe this is likely an isolated crime, and that the suspect chose to steal from the store when he noticed he had a chance. Police called it "opportunistic" -- an assessment with which Bowers agrees.
"I think it may have even been opportunistic," Bowers told NBC 7. "He might not even have planned it thoroughly ahead of time. Had intent and looked and opportunity arose."
No Bowers Jewelers employees were harmed in the heist. The owner said in all his years running the store, this sort of theft has only happened three other times. They have never had an armed robbery.
And while the insurance deductible to replace the ring may pinch, Bowers said, it does not hurt as much as a physical injury would have.
"We would not want these things to happen, but it's something that's only a material thing, not a huge loss. The business can sustain it," he said.
Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspect in the newly-released surveillance images. Anyone with information on this case should reach out to Det. Chris Luce at (858) 552-1726 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.