Cage and jewelry at Jamie's Jewelry

Jewelry stores are holding tight to their merchandise after $250,000 in gold was stolen from Genesis Jewelry at 23rd and Mission last weekend.

According to an account in the SF Appeal, the theft appeared to be well-organized. The thieves first broke into Farmer’s Insurance, the business next door, then used a pry bar to break through the bottom of a reinforced door connecting the two storefronts. They took only gold, ignoring electronics and other valuables in the store.

“That is awful,” said Aracelly Guevara, who owns Jamie’s Jewelry on Mission. In her small store, she is locked in with a caged gate.

Ramon Gonzalez of Angie’s Jewelry on Mission and 20th said that he’s never been robbed, and intends to keep it that way. “We have cameras, police alarms, and we put everything away every night when we close.”

His biggest concern, Gonzalez said, is petty theft, demonstrating how a man recently stopped by and tried to sneak a few rings while pretending to look at another.

“He did not get away with it.” Gonzalez smiled.

After a robbery a year and half ago, Ken Tai, owner of Ken’s jewelry on Mission and 19th, installed a caged door that only allows people to enter if they are buzzed in.

“They came in with a gun and pointed at me,” he said of the robbery. “They took a tray of necklaces that cost about $12,000!”

Guevara, Tai’s neighbor, said that is what it takes to maintain a jewelry store here.

“We knew it’s worse here,” she said. “But this is the busiest area in the Mission. Most of my customers are here.”

When a reporter stopped by Genesis Jewelry, which was closed earlier this week, the business had reopened.

Business is back to normal, said Robert Avallon, who owns the store with his wife. He may know who committed the robbery, he said.

“We know someone that frequently comes who has a reputation from the past. There were also a few people that came by last week that we have never seen before in this neighborhood.”

Avallon, like many other jewelry store owners, has kicked out his fair share of “suspicious people.”

“I have never been robbed before this,” he said. “They have tried, but I always kick them out.”

None of the six security cameras inside the store got a good image of the burglar; the footage only shows what appears to be a man crawling on the floor and being very careful not to look up. But Alvallon hopes that what footage there is, combined with with fingerprints that police lifted from the counters and the tool used to break into Farmer’s Insurance, will bring in the thief.

And, he said, the business stays open. “We are going to start all over. We are not closing down.”

Both Gonzalez and Avallon remain committed to the neighborhood.

“I chose the Mission because it is a Latino area, and I am Latino,” Gonzalez said.

“This is where I grew up. This is where I went to high school, and college,” Avallon said. “It is my community that buys from me.”

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