Thieves hit Ocean Beach antique store, tie up employees, take gold

by on June 16, 2011 · 25 comments

in Ocean Beach, Popular

Just before 1 pm this Thursday afternoon, three thieves entered the OB Antique Mall at at 4926  Newport Avenue. One had a shotgun and another reportedly had a hand gun.

Employees were tied up by the robbers before they made off with gold jewelry and a silver handgun. They were described as “Hispanic” or Latino, and all in their twenties. One was described as tall and heavy set, with a plaid shirt.  Another was said to be short and wore a black shirt.

Surveillance videos are being reviewed as police interview the victims.

Police Lt. Andra Brown told the press that this antique store had been hit a number of times in the past.

Here is the SignOnSanDiego report.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Ernie McCray June 16, 2011 at 1:56 pm

I hope everybody’s okay.


avatar DBB June 16, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Sounds like some more upset Vancouver Canucks fans


avatar Frank Gormlie June 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Hopefully, the descriptions of the thieves are better than the descriptions of those vandals who marked up all the display windows of OB businesses a while ago. They were also initially described as “Hispanic” but were – in fact – not. None of the 3.


avatar BOBOB June 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Hard to believe. 1pm! this really gets me mad!

first thing that came to mind was inside job. How much cash could they possibly have had to steal anyways. Hope they catch them.


avatar Gary Gilmore June 17, 2011 at 9:30 am

BobBob, definitly NOT an inside job. The thieves knew what they were doing. Silver and gold are at an all time high and Empire Antiques had a lot on display. It was a tempting target. Only the owner and his daughter were in the store and the merchandise was very easy to dispose of. My thinking is that it was a professional job that was planned far in advance. I’d like to know how they made their get-a-way.


avatar Ernie McCray June 16, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Hey, we need to catch these thugs so we can get back to bashing the bums (smile).


avatar Judi Curry June 16, 2011 at 5:52 pm

You were sure fast in reporting it. I looked at my watch when I read the report and it was only 2:20pm. Way to go!


avatar dave rice June 16, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Nice catch, whoever reported! Kenzi and I were riding down Sunset about that time when a police car came flying by with the cherries popped and siren blaring. By the time we left the library and got down to Newport for lunch on our way home things had quieted down…


avatar mr.rick June 16, 2011 at 10:37 pm

I’ve given this a few hours thought before opening my big mouth about this story. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up over years on how to survive an armed robbery. First, let explain. Having been on both sides of a violation of the penal code, section 211. And having talked to,dare I say; hundreds of convicted armed robbers, here’s a few tips. First, don,t try to be a hero. Most hero’s wind up dead when there are firearms involved. Second, just do what the gunman tells you to do. Most of the time the robber just wants the money. Give them the money. It’s not worth your life. Third if they tell you don’t touch a phone, then don’t touch a phone. Don’t push any buttons or do any thing that will keep the bad guy in your space any longer than is necessary to meet his/her demands. Third , don’t look at the robbers face. You might get killed,because this person does not want to be identified. Dead people can’t testify in court. Fourth, try to keep your cool. You need to realize this person just wants the loot. The cooler you remain the smoother this crime will go. Any thing that upsets the crooks plans are not good. Most of these guys are amateurs. You don’t want them to have to ad-lib. These guy’s are not brainiacs in the first place. Finally, after the ordeal is over take a deep breath or five and compose your self. You can then take what ever you consider is the proper action. This isn’t scientific advise but I would hate to see some ones life be ruined or ended over a little bit of money. I hope this helps. If anyone disagrees with these tips, don’t be shy, comment.


avatar Sunshine June 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm

i say fuck all that, mr rick. it’s like you’ve drawing a game plan to give all the robbers out there the advantage. fuck that. if i had a store on newport, i’d legally possess a loaded gun and shoot any idiot trying to rob me or my family.


avatar Kenloc June 20, 2011 at 11:32 am

I don’t really post commnts on this site anymore but do check back for local OB news. I am commenting on this one because I think a major political issue is being missed and it’s the legality of handguns. His handgun did him no good,and now it is a stolen handgun to be used for more crime. If he was able to get to his gun I cringe when I think of what could have happened next.Maybe he gets shot,maybe his daughter.Maybe he takes them all out but goes out front to discover he also shot a mother,her kid and a guy in the coffee shop across the street.I feel for the owner,I was robbed at gunpoint and forced to open a safe with a gun to my head.The thieves stole the handgun we had in in the robbery as well. Probably not a good idea to keep “hundreds of thousands of dollars” of jewelery in your little unprotected store with a wall of antiques blocking the view of the counter from the street.Who were you expecting to come in that day to buy that much jewelry?I’ll take your comments off the air……


avatar Molly June 20, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Sunshine, so much for peace and love, eh? Mow ’em down, ask questions later. Nice.


avatar Jack June 17, 2011 at 7:31 am

“Police Lt. Andra Brown told the press that this antique store had been hit a number of times in the past.”

With the proliforation of Antique Stores in the Ocean Beach business district and in the greater San Diego area, I believe it is high time the City Council formed a tasked force to create regulations for these types of businesses. After all, they are popping up all over and as a homegrown problem the police need tools to oversee the manner in which these places do business.

If in fact this is not the first robbery of Antique’s Mall, clearly there is a danger of increased criminal activity in the neighborhood, and it is clearly a result of the presence of antiques. And this is something we, as a community must do something about.

I have some suggestions:

First, have these sorts of businesses restricted to only commercial areas off the beaten track…at least 600 feet from any school, playground or church, and at least 100o feet between each store .

Second, have them go through a very stringent and expensive licensing process. In that way we can weed out these fly by night ne’er do wells who are taking advantage of the current lax climate without regulation.

Third, all of them should have full time security personnel. All employees must go through a thorough background check, and no crminal history will be allowed.

Fourth, no “antiquing” should be allowed on site, and certainly no expert consultation should be allowed either.

Fifth, strict regulations for the packaging and transportaiton of antiques, including licensing which will help recoup the cost of regulation.

Finally, all the antique stores should be operated as non-profits.

I was thinking of sending these ideas to the City’s Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee and Land Use and Housing Committee. Thoughts?

Peace, Jack


avatar Gary Gilmore June 17, 2011 at 9:23 am

Jack, when I first started reading your post I was ready to jump down your throat. after a few paragraphs I started to snicker. By the time I finished reading it I was laughing out loud.


avatar editordude June 17, 2011 at 11:15 am

We laughed at Jack’s comment so much we posted it as an article.


avatar tj June 17, 2011 at 8:38 am

That is a real shame.

Unfortunatly – exporting jobs, destroying the economy & middle class – will likely make these types of incidents a more frequent occurence.

A great disparity of “wealth” creates increased danger for the (no reflection at all on the business in question) haves.



avatar editordude June 17, 2011 at 10:38 am

UPDATE: The antique shop was robbed by two men who posed as customers before threatening the owner and his daughter with guns and tying them up.


avatar editordude June 17, 2011 at 11:16 am

MORE UPDATE: According to NBC News: An Ocean Beach antique store owner has declared he will pay $10,000 to whoever captures the three men who robbed his shop Thursday afternoon at gunpoint.

The suspects bound owner Ken Freeman and his 22-year-old daughter with duct tape to their wrists and mouths and forced them to lie facedown on the floor in the back of Ocean Beach Antique Mall at about 12:40 p.m. on the 4900 block of Newport Avenue, San Diego police said.

They fled on foot, Freeman says, with what may have easily been hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry. They also stole his gun.

“I would like them dead,” Freeman said. “That’s against the law, so please don’t run out and kill them. But they have hurt me and my family very much. Personally, I don’t like them. But we don’t want to cause people getting shot, so I won’t give a reward if you bring me their head on a platter. I will give a $10,000 reward for their a– in jail.”

The suspects posed as customers and asked to see the jewelry in the back of the store. One man then pulled out a shotgun and the robbery began. Freeman and his daughter were not injured, but he says his family business and savings were destroyed in minutes.


avatar OB DUDE June 19, 2011 at 7:50 am

Sorry for your loss and this terrible experience. I hope all merchants and residents in OB to contribute to the reward money.

Merchants should have panic buttons in their shop to alert the police. You can carry a button in your pocket or around your neck.


avatar Molly June 20, 2011 at 1:47 pm

OBDUDE – you hope “all merchants and residents in OB to contribute to the reward money”. Whaaaat? Why? Are we such a tight knit community that when someone loses something or it’s stolen, we all chip in … as always? Why do you think this? I’d contribute if I also got some of the profit(s) from the store. But noooo. Never.

You are definitely either dreaming of some world of harmony that OB is part of (if so, can I have some of what you’re smoking?) or you wish OB was part of it – if so, I’m with you but I’d start somewhere else, like helping people with their mortgages / rents so they could stay here, or you’re speaking with tongue in cheek.


avatar OB Dude June 20, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Well Molly, guess you have not been around OB for very long….when Willie’s (shoe repair) location burnt down our community kicked in. Why? Cause it’s the right thing to do.

I make the suggestion to contribute to the reward money not just to help the merchant who has been robbed but rather to help our community. Catching these low life disrepectful self-centered lazy thugs would only be a good thing for our community. Get these bullies (possible killers since they carry and threaten with guns) off our street before they harm, rob or kill.

As for helping people with their mortgage, I suggest they take in a boarder, get a job or second job and live within their means if that means getting rid of cell phones, cable tv, computer, cigarettes, or whatever else is not a necessity in life.

Maybe I am dreamy :-)


avatar Molly June 20, 2011 at 2:54 pm

OBD – I’ve been around OB for quite awhile, and yes I do recall people helping Willie out when his hut was burnt down. I also remember an OB that was tolerate of its street people. But you’re mixing I think apples and oranges. Willie is not an antique dealer or mainstream merchant. We all love him, but have you really seen many customers at his place?

Robbery and dealing with other headaches like vandalism is the call of the small business person. You have to deal with it and expect it might happen to you. (I like your idea of the alarm – but don’t most businesses already have them?) Just like banks have to expect bank hold-ups. It’s part of the reality that small businesses swim in. We can emphasize with them, but to stand about and wring our hands is to get tied down in their problems, while ignoring the community’s larger problems.

I just thought it was off the wall the way you said everyone must contribute to the reward money. Very different than helping Willie get a new hut.


avatar OB Dude June 20, 2011 at 3:20 pm

I have to admit I did get dreamy saying I HOPE “all merchants and residents” because I really meant that I HOPE those that wish to …. so I correct myself.

But I don’t see the difference helping one business man who suffered a fire loss versus helping two merchants who suffered a robbery?? To me, they are both doing the same thing….trying to earn a living…..NO???

Would you also say that “Robbery and dealing with other headaches like vandalism is the call of a homeowner or tenant?” Why does one have to expect to be robbed? If your neighbor is robbed, do you just turn the other way and say it’s their problem or do you form a neighborhood watch, or call the police when you spot vandalism or a theft. If we reach out and help our “neighbors” that is helping the community.

Get the thugs off the street and put them away for life!


avatar Molly June 20, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Yes, hope is good. It’s funny, this dialog went a different way than I expected. That’s okay too. We’re now getting into crime and community helping each other. And now you’ve allowed me to get philosophical.

Robbery. When one opens a shop and has goods for sale, one needs to be prepared for the worst. Get sandbags for the flooding on Newport, and also get insurance in case you are robbed or have a fire. And get an alarm as you suggested. (Many businesses do have alarms and alarm companies – I know as I had one when I ran a business.)

And there are home robberies. Okay, lock your doors but don’t get obsessive and install bars over your windows. Keep a look out for yourself and your neighbors but don’t get paranoid and fearful.

Be kind to strangers and the poor.

There are also robberies at work. People who work for shit wages are being robbed by their employers if those employers are making big bucks off the sweat of their backs and brows. How do we compensate those people? Do we all chip in for their losses too?

Instead of all this, and in order to follow what you are leaning toward – which I support, why not develop other ways this community can help itself or each other.

I know in the backward 1970s, there was a “community tax” that certain businesses collected, like Peoples Food and the Left Bank, and there was an elected board that decided where to spend the monies collected. Much of what was collected went towards good projects community people wanted to see but didn’t have the dough to start them up.


avatar mr.rick June 20, 2011 at 4:51 pm

On this business of how to not get shot during an armed robbery goes. I suppose you could arm yourself and shoot it out for a few thou in cash and stuff. But if you do, it would behove you to have an unlicenced gun just so you could say it wasn’t planned. It was just borrowed ’cause you were scaired or what ever. The is no such thing as self defense in the State of California. I don’t think this is an issue of gun control either. The city of San Diego already has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation. Here,where I am , as long as you aren’t a felon,you can have any kind of gun the laws in this state allows. Which is pretty liberal, if you get my drift. But to sum this thing up. Sunshine. Go for what you know,Baby Girl. (Or boy)


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