The daughter of a jewelry store owner in Costa Mesa said it will be a long road to recovery for him after he was beaten unconscious and kidnapped Wednesday.
Alex, the daughter, spoke to NBC Los Angeles on the condition that her family name not be disclosed. She has been at her father’s bedside since the kidnapping attack, which has left him in the hospital still in serious condition.
"It’s a scary situation," she said. "It’s a nightmare."
Alex says her father was leaving his business, Diamond Jewelry Exchange on Newport Blvd., around 6:30 on Wednesday night. He was walking to the parking lot carrying cash and jewelry – part of his regular routine after closing – when two men approached.
"We believe it happened as soon as he turned the corner," Alex said. "They must have been waiting for him at his car.
Alex says her dad, a tough man in his 60s, tried to fight off his attackers, one of whom attempted to choke him, possibly with a tie, while the other punched him.
"They did rob my dad while he was out here, took everything he had on him," she said. "His knuckles, bruised; arms, swollen; his face is double in size."
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But it didn’t end there, Alex says. The attackers then tied her father’s hands and legs and taped his mouth shut with duct tape. Then they shoved him inside his own car and drove seven miles to an empty Santa Ana parking lot off Red Hill Ave., where he was later found unconscious and covered in blood by a tow truck driver.
Hours after the attack, the two men returned to the Costa Mesa jewelry store, seen on security camera entering the back room. One man is shown wearing a white hoodie and sunglasses, the other bearded but with his face exposed.
"These men are animals," Alex said.
Police arrived at the jewelry store at about 10 p.m. Wednesday after the alarm went off, according to the Costa Mesa Police Department. The door was unlocked when they arrived and there were no signs of theft inside the business. Alex says her family still isn’t sure whether anything was taken from the store, as the safe was untouched, but that they are still processing their inventory.
Returning for the store for the first time since her father was brutally beaten, Alex is still not sure what to make the terrifying experience.
"[My dad is] lucky to be alive," she said.
No arrests have been made and Costa Mesa police has not released any suspect information.