MONTEREY PARK (CBSLA.com) — A San Gabriel Valley couple who came to the United States escaping violence and crime decades ago is now facing a crime here that has left them reeling over cherished mementos that may be lost forever.
Tuesday evening, two burglars came onto the property in Monterey Park and broke into the family’s home, shattering a glass sliding door with a shovel.
Despite the clearly posted sign warning security cameras were in use outside the house, the thieves took their time, roughly 40 minutes, stealing two safes from the home.
Multiple cameras filmed the two male burglars who casually passed by the cameras repeatedly. One of them makes the mistake of taking off his baseball cap directly in front of the camera, which captured the man’s face fairly clearly.
The family is hoping someone will recognize him and help them get their belongings from the safes back to them.
The couple’s daughter Christina tells CBS2 News her parents came from Cambodia as refugees, escaping the murderous regime of dictator Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge. She says the contents of the safes were of little monetary value, but that the keepsakes of her mother and father’s past held an inestimable sentimental value.
“They came here with nothing,” she says. “So when you come from nothing, this little thing that you managed to save means a lot more.”
Christina’s father worked delivering pizzas, while he mother raised three kids by day and earned one cent per label she sewed onto clothing as a seamstress by night.
Eventually, they became U.S. citizens and thought of this country as “the promised land.”
In the safe were two pendants, each with the other’s name on it.
“The first present to each other when they were able to afford it,” Christina laments.
The only thing left was strand of her mother’s gold chain Christina found in the dirt.
“I’m still picking up shards of glass this morning,” Christina says. “This is shattered dreams.”
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