LAGUNA HILLS (CBSLA.com) — Orange County Sheriff’s Detectives say they haven’t seen as many suspects at once in one place. Security cameras recorded the gang working at a frenetic pace. Blink optometry, a high-end eyewear store in Laguna Hills, was cleaned out in seconds by about a dozen thieves.
The employees were too scared to show their faces on camera and are in total disbelief of what they saw on the security video Monday morning.
“I feel violated,” an employee said. “It was like a moving company coming in without authorization.”
In less than two minutes before dawn, every display case and cabinet, every desk and drawer in the store were smashed by a large group of heavily-disguised thieves. As many as 800 designer eyeglass frames were stolen. The loss could be as high as $200,000.
Duane Rughen, a rep for a frames company, says the business has gotten dangerous. The frames are so expensive, he says, the cargo he carries is like precious jewelry.
“There’s a demand,” Rughen said. “They follow us. It’s happened in parking lots, it’s happened at home, it’s kind of a really scary thing.”
The video shows the bandits racing against the clock. The pace they worked at indicates they are likely an experienced team. The alarm was blaring so loud they broke it off the wall.
At one time, eight men were seen shoveling glasses from the display into bags, their arms were full. The thieves wore gloves and put socks on their hands hoping they wouldn’t leave any prints behind.
Deputies arrived in about four minutes narrowly missing the men who were seen on camera fleeing in three different cars. Detectives say the mob is believed to be involved in other burglaries.