HESPERIA • A Hesperia jewelry store was hit by thieves early Wednesday morning for the third time this year, though this time the burglar waited until the Main Street business was closed.
The store belongs to Roberto Espinoza, better known in the community as "Coach." Espinoza is the coach for both the Hesperia and Victorville Police Activities Leagues' boxing programs and was named citizen of the year by both the Victorville and Hesperia sheriff's stations.
Security cameras at Main Express Jewelry show a burglar entered through a back window early Wednesday morning and stole an unknown quantity of jewelry, according to Detective Paul Bader with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Hesperia station.
At 12:58 a.m., security cameras showed a man walking around the outside of the jewelry store and looking in windows. The man was wearing a jacket with a hood and carrying a cup of coffee.
Fifteen minutes later, at 1:14 a.m., the burglar began banging on and kicking windows in the back of the store in an attempt to get inside, according to security camera footage.
According to Espinoza, the burglar broke multiple windows in the back of the store before gaining entrance through a bathroom window.
Once inside the store, the burglar broke glass display cases and emptied many displays of their jewelry. A complete inventory has not yet been taken, and Espinoza could not estimate the exact value of the jewelry stolen.
Security cameras show glimpses of the burglar in various parts of the store, including behind the front counter and near the safe. The burglar was talking during much of the time inside the store, according to security footage.
After approximately 40 minutes inside the store, the burglar left at 1:55 a.m., leaving broken glass and jewelry displays strewn across the floor.
At around 7 a.m., Espinoza said he received a call from neighbors, letting him know about the burglary.
Deputies responded to the scene around 9 a.m., Bader said. They were still reviewing evidence and surveillance tapes into the afternoon, with no suspect identified.
Even while the investigation was taking place, Espinoza helped customers who came to the door, saying he didn't believe it would be fair to customers to close the store.
The jewelry store has been in the family for 15 to 20 years and has a good reputation in the community, according to Espinoza.
This burglary is the third attack on the store in the past six months, and Espinoza says dealing with the crime has been difficult.
"I wish I could close tomorrow," Espinoza said. "But we've been doing this our whole lives. If I close, I have to move."
Espinoza was hospitalized for a short time after he was hit with a pipe wrench as his jewelry store was robbed by five armed thieves in March. Then in June, six gang members and two of their associates were arrested for trying to rob the store again.
"It's a blessing for us to be alive," Espinoza said.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call sheriff's dispatch at 760-245-4211 or WeTip at 800-78-CRIME.