SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - The owners of a small business in San Jose that was burglarized over the weekend claim more than $20,000 worth of masks, gloves, and sanitizer were stolen.
They said the merchandise was supposed to go to first responders and essential workers.
The owners of Jesenia's Janitorial Supply couldn't believe their eyes when they arrived at the shop to find that someone had broken in, apparently by throwing a large boulder through the front door.
Owner Nancy Lopez Calderon said, "Glass everywhere. We came in and a lot of our supplies were missing."
The thieves took gloves, face masks, hand sanitizer, even toilet paper. The owners estimate the loss at upwards of $20,000.
What's worse is that most of the items were already earmarked for organizations like California Highway Patrol, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Agency (VTA), and health clinics.
Lopez Calderon said "We need these essentials for our community, to help workers and people that really need it. We're in an epidemic. We're short on supply and to have somebody come and vandalize and take our supplies, it's unfortunate."
Authorities said since the value of personal protective equipment has skyrocketed, they're seeing in increase in people trying to capitalize on the supplies.
The California Attorney General's Office has a task force looking into price gouging online.
Lopez Calderon said, "Either they sell it online or if they're afraid to get caught they'll sell it on the street."
Jesenia's Janitorial Supply said there is no way to replace the inventory since the demand for the items is high, the supplies are back-ordered.
The owners said they'll do their best to get what's left of the store's inventory in the right hands.
In the meantime, they're also taking safety precautions to prevent the incident from happening again.
Lopez Calderon said "We added bars to the business because this was a little wake up call and a warning—be prepared. You don't know what's coming next."
Surveillance cameras captured part of the crime. The store owners believe a gray SUV, possibly a Honda CRV, with three people inside is linked to the incident.
Anyone with information should contact San Jose Police.