GLENDALE — Police detectives released surveillance footage on Monday that shows a man minutes before he allegedly steals a $9,200 Rolex watch from a jewelry store in the Glendale Galleria.
Detectives are seeking the public's help in identifying the man who stole the Rolex "Deep Sea" watch Aug. 2 from Classic Design while store clerks had stepped away, police said.
"The biggest thing is that we want to put a name to a face," Glendale Police Det. Keith James said.
The alleged thief walked into the store about 11:39 a.m. and approached a store clerk about a watch in a glass display case, James said.
While inquiring about the watch, the man asked about repairing his luxury cell phone, police said.
The store clerk became distracted and placed the watch on a chair behind the jewelry counter, James said.
When the clerk left the room, video footage shows the man walking behind the counter while on the cell phone, James said.
After sitting on the chair, the man then grabbed either a folder or paper, swooped up the watch, put it in his pants pocket and walked out, James said.
The store clerk returned to find the man and the watch gone. Unable to recall the watch's location, she and other clerks reviewed surveillance videos and then immediately called police.
The theft appears to be a crime of opportunity, James said.
The store was also burglarized in January when four masked men smashed several glass display cases overnight and stole at least $150,000 worth of high-priced jewelry.
In store owner Peter Siow's more than 20 years of operating a business in Glendale, he said he has never experienced as much crime as in the past year-and-a-half.
"Maybe it's just a sign of the times," he said.
The clerk has been upset about the theft, especially since she and other employees struggle to sell the high-end pieces, he added.
"You work so hard … with this economy," Siow said. "It's wrong."
Anyone with details about the watch or alleged thief is asked to call James at (818) 548-2097.