Police seeking help identifying suspect in theft of about $100K in jewelry

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) Police are asking for help identifying a man suspected of stealing about $100,000 in jewelry one afternoon last month from a store in Chinatown, police said today.

At about 3 p.m. Feb. 24, the suspect broke the front window of Loretta's Jewelry Company in the 100 block of Waverly Place.

After the burglary, the man was seen running south on Waverly Place and then east on Sacramento Street, according to police. 

Waverly Place is popular with tourists and is known as the "Street of the Painted Balconies" because of its bright storefronts. 

I was just scared. You know? What did he take?" said the store owner who did not want to be identified on camera.

The burglar ended up with diamond necklaces and a tray of diamond rings, but he did it without entering the store. 

Customers have to be buzzed into the store. The front door and right side are covered by security gates. The left side, with the display case is not. 

"I was facing the outside showcase. the window showcase, face to face to him and I saw him holding a big, heavy hammer and keep on pounding the window, reached in, grabbed about $100,000 in jewelry and took off." 

Jimmy Chau replaced the store's tempered glass with laminated safety glass.if it breaks into pieces, you can't get into the store. 

"When they break it, we just replace it," said Chau, a glass installer. In another unsuccessful robbery attempt, also at a Chinatown jewelry store earlier this month, police say bullet-resistant glass helped fend off Matthew Ho. He's accused of knocking over an employee before using a hammer to break into display cases. Ho was arrested within days, thanks to tips to police. 

The suspect in the Waverly Place case is described as a man in his 20s wearing jeans, a dark-colored jacket and red and green shirt.

Anyone with information about the burglary is asked to get in touch with police anonymously at (415) 575-4444 or by texting a tip to TIP411. Text messages should begin with SFPD.