LMPD Seeks Help Identifying Subjects Connected to Looting at Jewelry Store

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The La Mesa Police Department is asking for the public's help in identifying a group of people in connection with a burglary at a La Mesa jewelry store the night destructive riots broke out in the city's downtown area.

LMPD did not provide descriptions or accuse the subjects in the photos of any crimes, and identified them only as "Pierre's Jewelers subjects."

Anyone with information can email lamesatips@cityoflamesa.us, or call (619) 667-7532.

In the days after the May 30 riot that saw widespread arson and looting, the owner of the jewelry store shared security footage that showed a large group breaking into his shop, smashing his display cases and pocketing valuable items.

“I could see people breaking into the door, breaking showcases," said owner Samir Pierre Farhat. "It was devastating, actually.”

Samir has sold jewelry in La Mesa for more than 40 years.

"We built it from the ground up," Samir said.

The shop was their piece of the American dream, an effort undertaken after escaping violence in Lebanon.

“I experienced the civil war," Samir said, adding that his experience there "looked like this."

Samir said that the chaos in La Mesa on Saturday brought back emotional memories.

“I didn’t want to raise my children in a chaotic place like that, so I thought here was a better place," Samir said. "It is a better place, no matter what.”

Fortunately for Samir and his family, the most valuable jewelry in the shop was stored securely elsewhere when the looters broke in. He said he was working with his insurance company on compensation for damages and the looted items.

Despite the traumatizing events, Samir and his wife and three children have found reasons to remain positive.

“After the incident happened, a lot of people came to help,” Samir said.

In fact, hundreds turned out on Sunday and many again on Monday to help La Mesa clean up and, hopefully, turn the corner on Saturday's disturbance. One message on the plywood temporarily installed over broken windows said, "Support Small Business and Rebuild La Mesa."

“We’ve all come out to clean, to paint, to rebuild,” said La Mesa resident Lynne Castro on Monday.

Samir and his family had been preparing for weeks to welcome back their customers safely, finally reopening after months of COVID-19 closure.

“I just want to go back to normal, if we can, and I'm sure we will," said Beatrice, Samir's wife. "With faith and hard work, we’ll make it again.”

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