At about 2:30 p.m., four male suspects approached the Uptown Jewelry Mart in Upland with the goal of committing a smash-and-grab burglary. The guys stretched out and planned to smash each of the protected glass cases, pocketing the valuable jewels and fleeing as quickly as they arrived.
What should have been a catastrophic financial blow for the California small company owner has turned out to be a wonderful self-defense lesson. Even the local police chief praised the business owner’s ingenuity in the face of overwhelming odds.
The robbers used a huge canister of bear spray, an aerosol that distributes extremely inflammatory capsaicin, to incapacitate and confuse the customers and personnel. Regretfully for the group, the business owner had something considerably more efficient for disabling and discouraging unwanted visitors.
When the robbers used bear spray, the owner pulled out his gun and threatened to shoot all of the gang members. The burglars exited the premises without delay, leaping into a waiting getaway car driven by a fifth suspect. Before cops could reach, the gang had vanished.
Detectives promptly studied CCTV videotapes from within the business that caught the incident. The males, meanwhile, were all wearing facial covers, making identification impossible. Luckily, the Upland Police Department got a tip from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Chino Hills Station, which resulted in a search warrant for an Upland residence and many arrests.
Jonathan Williamson, 36, of Upland; Gerald Kay, 30, of Fontana; Dalon La Flora, 29, of Los Angeles; and Jahaad Crawford, 30, who was on federal probation and sought for an outstanding warrant, were the culprits. The males were arrested and brought into the West Valley Detention Center on various criminal offenses. The fifth culprit was tough to locate, according to cops. All of the males are thought to be members of a local violent street gang.
Since then, the community has lauded the store owner as a hero for successfully protecting his company, staff, and customers without firing a single shot. Even the local police head applauded the owner’s abilities.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department thinks that several of the guys who attempted to loot the Uptown Jewelry Mart are the same culprits who attempted to rob jewelry businesses in Claremont and Chino Hills.
The jewelry store owner might easily have ended up like the other proprietors attacked by the gang, scurrying to pick up the pieces after the robbers demolished their inventory. He was, though, armed and well equipped for such a circumstance, enabling him, his company, and everybody else in the store to escape unharmed.
Once again, a nice person with a pistol prevents a potentially disastrous conclusion. Now that virtually all of the culprits have been apprehended, any potential robbers considering stealing a jewelry store should rule out the Uptown Jewelry Mart.