Armed citizen ends California "smash-and-grab" robbery

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Some would have us believe that armed citizens don’t actually stop crimes. They’ll tell you that these folks are more of a threat than anything else.

When you ask how, they’ll give you plenty of scary scenarios, but they’ll probably be short of hard facts. That’s because when you look at the numbers, even by the most conservative ones, hundreds of thousands of people have used a firearm to protect themselves.

It even happens in anti-gun California.

Four of five men suspected in an attempted “smash-and-grab” robbery of an Upland jewelry store Thursday, Dec. 30, have been arrested, authorities said.

The men arrived mid-afternoon at Uptown Jewelry Mart on South Mountain Avenue, the Upland Police Department reported. Four men entered the shop with their faces covered, while the driver stayed in the car, police said.

The men deployed a large canister of bear spray on people inside the store, but a business owner thwarted the crime with a legally owned firearm, police said. The men ran to the car and drove away.

Obviously, no charges have been filed against the owner.

The use of pepper spray is interesting as normally, these kinds of robberies depend on surprise and shock to keep them safe. Deploying a less-lethal weapon seems a bit unusual, though I’ll also admit that I haven’t been following the tactics of smash-and-grab robbers.

Regardless, the owner having a gun and being willing to use it may well have stopped any escalation in this attack. The use of pepper spray doesn’t automatically suggest a lethal response may be necessary, but I can also understand why the owner pulled his firearm.

Luckily, no one was hurt and four of the five suspects have been arrested.

It’s also believed at least some of these same men took part in at least two other similar robberies in other nearby communities. In other words, they weren’t new to this by any extreme.

These kinds of robberies have become rather common in California from what I can tell, in part because the rules for arresting people for these kinds of crimes have gotten downright confusing. A $950 minimum is required before an arrest can be made, which likely means showing some evidence that the products stolen amount to more than that in value, which gives criminals more time to getaway.

Absolutely brilliant law, folks. Absolutely freaking brilliant.

Regardless, at least four of these guys are now in custody and it’s also likely the fifth will be arrested before too much longer. These kinds of guys aren’t known for eternal loyalty if it means a few months off of their sentence.

However, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if the owner hadn’t been armed. Not only would people have been gassed with pepper spray and the store have been robbed, but it was really just a matter of time before these (alleged) criminals hurt someone.

In California, that’s always a threat since gun control there makes it clear that most lawmakers don’t see the right to keep and bear arms as an actual right.