For nearly 20 minutes, a man used a sledgehammer to break through a bulletproof glass door and steal $40,000 worth of sunglasses Friday from an eyewear shop on Wilson Avenue.
Surveillance video footage showed the man walk up to Blue Eyes Optometry in the 100 block of West Wilson Avenue about 1 a.m. and try to break the glass with a device resembling a ball-point pen. When that failed, he used brute force.
With the glass still holding, he pulled a sledgehammer from a sack containing packing peanuts and eventually broke through the door, creating a flap to enter the store.
Once inside the shop, the footage shows the thief grabbing handfuls of Chrome Hearts sunglasses and shoving them inside the sack. Nearly a minute later, he exited the store with 128 pairs of the prescription glasses, which can cost up to $2,000 each.
Glendale police reported finding the sledgehammer on the ground at 119 W. Wilson Ave.
“I am taking a huge hit on this,” said the shop’s owner, Gor Vartanyan, who added that he doesn’t have insurance to cover the loss.
Friday’s theft is the second break-in at Blue Eyes since 2008, when thieves stole all of the shop’s merchandise.
Vartanyan has considered relocating his business. But he said he is torn because he has a strong customer base and is known for selling the Chrome Hearts brand, a high-value target for thieves.
On Oct. 3, thieves burglarized EyeStyles in Lake Forest for the exclusive eyewear brand, manager Michael Sellaroli said. The shop is one of only three stores in Orange County that carry the brand, he said, adding that it was the third such Chrome Hearts burglary at the store.