A group of thieves used a hammer to break into a high-end optometry retailer and got away with $40,000 worth of merchandise.
The robbery occurred at 3:45 a.m. Sunday at City Eyes Optometry Center in Sherman Oaks when a dark Volvo pulled up to the business and three men broke a glass window to get inside, quickly grabbing 214 high-end frames before police could arrive, said store owner Norm Steinberg.
"You feel violated," Steinberg said. "You got three guys coming in with bags, stealing your stuff, just rummaging through, tearing stuff apart, opening drawers."
A surveillance camere captured the robbery.
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The men, who worked quickly to take frames and trays and tried unsuccessfully to break into another case, triggered a silent alarm. Police responded in just two minutes, but they missed the thieves by mere seconds.
On Monday, several store displays sat empty or only partly full. A representative from one of Steinberg's best-selling brands visited the store so he could restock.
Having lost $25,000 worth of frames in a robbery six months prior, Steinberg said he now has no choice but to put a gate in front of his shop window.
"I don't want to feel like I'm locked up in a cage," Steinberg said. "I like patients to walk by and see inside and see our product and see how pretty our office is. And now there's going to be gates lined up.