Thieves steal estimated $100K in jewelry from beloved East Bay shop

Thieves target the Newark Jewelry Center in the East Bay and the owner said, at least $100,000 worth of merchandise was swiped in just minutes. Richard Ippolito called it a hit emotionally and financially. 

The Newark Jewelry Center is a family run business rooted in Newark for three decades. The owner said this is the first time he's been hit. The entire theft last two minutes and 14 seconds.

Surveillance video captures two masked men break into the Newark Jewelry Center early Sunday morning with a six-foot steel crowbar in hand. Within minutes, they smash show cases full of jewelry.

“You can hear the impact where he had to hit the cases multiple times to get them to shatter,” said Owner Richard Ippolito.

Ippolito is the owner. His father started the business in the 1950’s and moved it to the Newark shopping center in 1981.

Ippolito said when he arrived he found the front door damaged and glass and jewelry everywhere. He said the crooks- broke five laminated glass cases filled with estate jewelry of custom design, one of a kind pieces.

“I’m stunned,” said Ippolito. “I still haven't recovered. I can't believe it happened. They got away with quite a bit of merchandise. I don't know 100 percent for sure but $125 to $150,000.”

From the surveillance video, the thieves arrived at 5:50 a.m. and waited 10 minutes. The crime was committed right at 6 a.m. Ippolito said that’s interesting, pointing to a police shift change. The station is around the corner.

“They were definitely calculated enough to have done a bit of their homework,” said Lt. Jolie Macias of Newark Police.

Police call the crime rare and coordinated. The surveillance video captures the getaway car which was stolen 30 minutes prior from an auto repair shop parking lot down the street.

Long-time patrons said the owner is a beloved gem in the community.

“It’s sad that it happened to him because he's been here forever and more than likely it's not someone from this town that did it,” said Brian Petratuona of Fremont. 

Ippolito said he’s not deterred. He’s sharing the video since he believes the crooks may be a sophisticated crew to warn others to keep their guard up.

“I’m worried about the next guy,” said Ippolito. “I survived. What would have happened if someone was in the store and met them in the store. Are they armed? Would it escalate to the next level?”

The owner has now implemented extra layers of security including installing a new steel door in front of the front door and activating the alarm instantly.