Employee Wounded as 3 Boys Rob Jewelers With Gun, Sledgehammer

Times Staff Writer

Three boys, described by witnesses as 12 to 15 years old, shot and wounded an employee of a Reseda jewelry store Tuesday before fleeing with an undetermined amount of valuables, Los Angeles police said.

Detective Robert Johansen said the three youthful robbers entered Talbert Jewelers in the 18300 block of Sherman Way at about 3:45 p.m. and ordered the four employees to the ground. No customers were in the store.

One of the youths, carrying a sledgehammer, smashed three jewelry cases, and another loaded valuables into a bag. The third held the employees at bay with what police believe was a .38-caliber pistol, Johansen said.


When the store’s credit manager, Ron Flury, 48, of Sylmar, tried to escape through the rear door, the armed youth fired twice, striking Flury once in the left arm, Johansen said.

The robbers were last seen driving west on Sherman Way in a late-model, red, four-door Pontiac, Johansen said.

“This may be connected to a series of jewelry store robberies we’ve had throughout the Western states,” Johansen said, explaining that methods used in committing the crimes were similar. He said that in most of the heists, three or four youths enter a store. Usually one robber is armed and his accomplices smash open display cases.

“It’s something we have to check into,” he said.

Flury was treated at Northridge Hospital Medical Center and released.

“They were just kids, just punk kids,” he said later. “They came barging in the store, and I thought, ‘Trouble.’ The whole thing was very scary. I’ve been through robberies before, but not like this. They were mean-looking kids.”

Flury said he made his break for freedom when “the kid with the gun said, ‘Hit the floor.’ ”

” . . . I ran out and up a staircase. I got hit in the arm and was lucky to escape with that.”


Johansen said the series of similar heists that police are investigating include a daring daytime robbery of a jewelry store in Bellevue, Wash., last month in which about $300,000 was taken.

In that robbery, which police say was committed by four Los Angeles gang members, one of the suspects, a 15-year-old boy from South-Central Los Angeles, was arrested as he prepared to board a plane to Southern California. The three others are still at large, Johansen said.

Police in Bellevue said groups of teen-age thieves pulled similar robberies last summer at jewelry stores in shopping malls in Northern California and Tacoma, Wash.

Although the same youths may not have been involved in all of the recent robberies, police have speculated that an adult ringleader may be planning the crimes and enlisting street-wise youths to commit them, Los Angeles Police Sgt. Bob Jackson of the gang activities unit said last month.