Thieves stole an estimated $250,000 worth of jewelry from a Mission District store over the weekend by breaking into an adjoining business and then ransacking the jewelry shop, police and the storeowner said today.
The theft was reported shortly after 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Genesis Jewelry at 3260 23rd St., near Mission Street.
Someone had broken into the Farmers Insurance office at 3262 23rd St. to gain access to the jewelry shop. There was a reinforced door connecting the two businesses, and the intruder busted through the bottom of the door and crawled through, police Lt. Troy Dangerfield said.
Robert Avellan, the owner of Genesis Jewelry, got a call Saturday morning from Farmers Insurance informing him that his store had been burglarized.
He said it appears that the intruders used a pry bar and that more than one person was involved, based on footage from his store's surveillance cameras.
"It seems like there was just one person inside, but it seems like he was handing over the merchandise through the door," Avellan said.
The store has six surveillance cameras -- four inside and two outside -- but the intruder stayed down and crawled around, and all that was captured on video was a white hood, he said.
"They were smart enough not to stand up," Avellan said.
The stolen goods included diamond rings and assorted 14-karat gold jewelry, including men's and women's bracelets, he said. Avellan estimated the loss at $250,000.
The items were not insured, he said, explaining that there was difficulty with the insurance company because Avellan and his wife run two businesses out of the same store -- the jewelry shop and a computer repair business.
The thieves apparently weren't interested in the computers.
"They didn't touch any of the laptops that we have here," he said.
He said he and his wife opened the store on 23rd Street about eight months ago after moving from a spot nearby on 24th Street where they had been for three years.
"We're the very first ones of our family generation who have this type of business," Avellan said. "Just the two of us."
He said they opened the store because of his wife's success in selling items to friends and acquaintances.
"That's how our name and business came to be known," Avellan said. "We decided to open up an actual store."
Avellan said this is the first time the store had been burglarized. It is equipped with an alarm system, but the alarm wasn't functioning at the time of the break-in, he said.
He said he's not sure what to do now, but said the store was open for business today and that he and his wife are cleaning up.
"We've got to keep on trying," he said.