Cameras capture jewelry store stickup

December 31, 2008 10:01:40 PM PST
Police say robberies in Oakland are down two percent this year. But, this one was particularly brazen.

It happened in the middle of the afternoon during the Christmas shopping season.

With a gun to his head Daniel Ayala tried to fight off the robbers who were holding up his jewelry store.

Surveillance video from the December 23rd robbery shows Ayala in a violent fight to save his life and protect his family.

His wife and nine-year old son, who were also in the store, were thrown to the ground by the robbers.

"He grabbed my lady by the hair and put her down. He grabbed my child and put him there. It was so terrible," said Ayala.

He studied jewelry-making in his native Mexico and opened the store eight years ago, his life's dream in a new country. Some of the handmade pieces he designed were stolen that day.

"They took all the work I did in 10 years," he said.

It was a brazen attack.

A man and a woman pretended to browse. As they left the man jumped the counter and the woman rushed to shut the front door.

They were not wearing masks and called in two more friends to help.

"I was thinking it was my last day," Ayala recalled.

The bruises and cuts are still visible.

"Finally, I gave it up because I was thinking of my family. There was no other way," he explained.

They took $200,000 worth of jewelry and cash, and even the money in Ayala's wallet. They also took two guns he had in his safe.

"Everything. They're cleaning my safety box, trying to get as much they can. Also, I give it my money from my pocket," he described.

Daniel said his wife pushed the silent alarm button the second the robbers jumped the counter. But, it took police more than ten minutes to respond. On top of that, he said police did not return to the store to dust for fingerprints for two days.

Oakland Police say they actually responded within five minutes. As for why it took two days to take fingerprints, Police Spokesman Lt. Jeff Thomason said in a statement, "Our technicians are short positions and the last couple days we've had three homicides. And homicides are always going to take priority over robberies."

Ayala is thankful that he did not have the gun on him that he usually carries for protection.

"More terrible things can be happening," he said.

The four suspects have not been caught and Ayala has not reopened his store since the robbery occured.

After everything that has happened he says he may never open again.


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