When criminal smash-and-grabs go unpunished — and practically unnoticed — by the cops, business owners have two options: sit back and watch, or fight back.
In El Monte, California, the employees of Meza’s Jewelry are going viral for doing the latter.
The incident happened shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday, the station reported.
“The incident began when a man came in armed with a hammer and smashed a display case, according to employees,” the report said.
“Police say he used pepper spray on the workers, who are family members.”
And that’s when things got ugly for the alleged smash-and-grabber.
WARNING: The following video contains violence that some viewers may find disturbing.
According to KTLA-TV, a report from El Monte police said the employees “engaged the suspect,” which is putting it mildly.
“Video from the scene shows workers fighting the suspect — whose shirt came off — and hitting him with some sort of metal rod near the store’s front entrance,” the station reported.
“The altercation eventually spilled onto the sidewalk, where the two employees eventually chased the man down the street.”
The thief nearly lost his pants in the getaway as well.
“Me, my uncle and my dad were tugging him out,” one of the employees told KABC. “I was trying to defend my family because as you could see he was hitting my dad and my uncle.”
No arrests have been made; employees were treated for minor injuries.
However, this latest smash-and-grab raises a wider question, as a social media account noted: “Is this what should be expected when the looting of stores without challenge is permitted?”
Is this what should be expected when the looting of stores without challenge is permitted?🤔
El Monte in Los Angeles County
Employees at an El Monte jewelry store punched, kicked and used a stick to fight back and chase off a suspected… pic.twitter.com/oL71uwOb5U
— Crime in NYC (@CrimeInNYC) September 3, 2023
Anyone who pretends that this isn’t a problem in California either doesn’t pay attention to the news or thinks these brazen robberies are a result of social anomie in an inequitable world, not a severe moral deficiency.
Unfortunately, the latter parties tend to comprise a majority of the California electorate, which votes for propositions and politicians that treat theft, at least in a law enforcement context, like someone smoking a joint at a Phish concert.
If you think the result has been anything but predictable, my guess is there’s at least a 25 percent chance your last name is Soros.
Take this scene from a 7-Eleven on El Segundo Boulevard in Los Angeles last year, which became emblematic of a larger problem plaguing the state:
‘Flash Mob’ Looters Ransack Convenient Store after Street Takeover
On August 15 around 12:40am a street takeover initiated at Figueroa and El Segundo. The spectators then formed a ‘flash mob’ of looters and rushed a nearby 7-Eleven.
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) August 18, 2022
Perhaps it’s hardly surprising, then, that we’re seeing scenes like this, where Stockton, California 7-Eleven workers fought back against a robber who was clearing off the shelves and refused to stop — with a bystander simply telling the employees, “You have insurance? … Ain’t nothing you can do, man.”
They did something, all right:
WARNING: The following post contains language and violence that some viewers may find offensive or disturbing.
😂😂 Got Insurance? Whoopin Yo Ass!
Black Shoplifter, behind counter at 7-Eleven in Stockton, CA using rolling trash can to steal cigarettes.
Being filmed by another black man, who says to two Indian Workers,
“You got Insurance”?
“You can’t do nothing!”
“Whoopin Yo Ass” pic.twitter.com/SA0e8cE7AL
— TheQuestion (@TheQuestion5150) August 3, 2023
According to KTVU-TV, the 7-Eleven employees will face no charges for the July 28 incident.
However, these are things that shouldn’t be happening in the first place. Both the El Monte jewelry store employees and the Stockton 7-Eleven workers were hailed as heroes — but the fact is, we need a system where retributive justice doesn’t have to be carried out by store workers.
Instead, if California wants to end its problems with smash-and-grab robberies, there’s one easy way to do it: Start enacting serious deterrents and stop treating criminals as potential rehabilitative subjects.
It’s good to see these men and women fight back. It’d be a whole lot better if they didn’t have to.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.