The owner of a jewelry store in Chula Vista says he’s grateful to be alive after two unknown men robbed his shop at gunpoint, telling him to obey their orders if he wanted to live.
According to Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) Capt. Lon Turner, the armed robbery happened Thursday around 5:40 p.m. at McClendon Jewelers located at 258 Third Ave.
After two unknown men entered the shop, one of the men brandished a handgun. Soon, the pair began demanding jewelry from the display cases.
During the robbery, Capt. Turner said the suspects ordered employees into the restroom. When the employees exited the restroom, the men were gone. Police officers launched a search for the suspects Thursday evening in the area, but did not locate the pair.
On Friday, NBC 7 spoke with the owner of the jewelry store, Zaven Abikian, who said he was still very shaken up.
Standing in his shop with nearly all of the display cases empty, Abikian said he was in the process of closing the store for the day when the men walked in.
Abikian said the suspects targeted his high-value pieces and demanded he weigh one of the gold chains for them.
As they moved about the store, Abikian said they pushed him and flashed their gun, teling him, “You better cooperate. If not, you might not go home tonight.”
Abikian said he was extremely frightened and immediately thought of his wife and 7-year-old daughter. Fearful he may not see his family again, he did not fight back and did as he was told.
The suspects then made Abikian, his watchmaker and his jeweler go into the bathroom while they finished ransacking the business.
On Friday, black dust covered all of the display cases in the store, left behind by investigators who dusted for fingerprints.
Abikian said police officers collected a lot of evidence after the robbery, and he is confident the suspect will be caught. The heist was caught on the shop’s surveillance camera, and the footage was given to investigators.
In the meantime, Abikian said he’s just thankful no one was injured.
Abikian said he has been making jewelry at the shop for 20 years and has owned it for 11 years. He has been robbed once before, but not to this degree.
He said he takes great joy in making jewelry and to have his pieces stolen like this has taken away that happiness.
As of Friday at 11 a.m., no arrests had been made.
The CVPD said the men are described as African American, between 20 and 40 years old. One man was approximately 5-foot-10 with a heavy build and wore a plaid shirt and jeans during the robbery. The second man was described as 5-foot-11 with a thin build, wearing a white T-shirt and blue pants.
Abikian told NBC 7 he recognized one of the suspects from a prior visit to his shop. He said one of the men came in before asking about jewelry values and what certain pieces were worth.
The robbery remains under investigation. Anyone with information should contact the CVPD at (619) 691-5151.