Council reacts to Village smash-and-grab robbery

by Steven Felschundneff |

During Tuesday’s Claremont City Council meeting, council member Sal Medina and Mayor Pro-tem Ed Reece mentioned the scary smash-and-grab burglary that occurred in the Village earlier that day.

Recalling the trend of similar crimes that have happened around the state and the country, they commented that it is not a matter of if, but when such crimes will come here — and that “when” was Tuesday.

Just before noon, three suspects entered 4C’s Finecraft Jewelry on Yale Avenue and immediately sprayed employees with a chemical which incapacitated them. The men then used tools to smash display cases and stole numerous pieces of jewelry before fleeing the scene and running north to a waiting getaway vehicle, according to a news release from Claremont police.

The suspects are described as Black males wearing black jackets and green gloves. One suspect wore red and white striped pants and another wore a white shirt.

“Today we had our first smash-and-grab robbery in the Vvillage. This is no longer something we see on TV or see in L.A., it’s steps away from this chamber,” Mayor Pro-Tem Reece said.

He went on to say that this happens when there is no accountability for those who perpetrate crimes. “We have approved propositions and provided money for alternate reform programs, but clearly something is still broken,” he said.

Mayor Pro-Tem Reece said such violent crimes are not a Democrat or Republican issue but a matter of public safety, and he called on the county board of supervisors, the district attorney and the Los Angeles Sherriff to sit down at the table and come up with real solutions that serve the greater public safety interests of county residents.

“And quite frankly I am happy to host them here in this great city of Claremont,” he said.

He asked the city manger and city staff to ask the offices of these county leaders for recommendations on how to approach these crimes and “what is going to be done to protect our small businesses.”

“To Tom, his family and employees, my heart ached for you when I heard about this today,” he said.

On Thursday Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger announced that she will provide $1 million in discretionary funding in increase law enforcement services in communities within the fifth district, which includes La Verne but not Claremont.

“This month’s busiest holiday shopping days are quickly approaching and crime is indisputably on the rise,” Barger said. “The recent smash-and-grab crime wave and various robberies are proof that criminals feel bold and untouchable — crimes are increasingly committed in the public eye.”

The funds will provide more law enforcement patrols and presence in her district a move that was praised by L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

If any readers have any information or video surveillance of the area around the store on Tuesday, please call the Claremont Police Department at (909) 399-5411.


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