Universal Jewelers, located in the 200 block of West Main Street, was robbed by three masked men on Thursday night at approximately 6:50pm. Turlock Police received 9-1-1 calls reporting an armed robbery had just occurred at the jewelry store in Downtown Turlock.
A video surveillance tape shows that three suspects dressed in dark clothing and wearing masks got out of a silver Chevrolet Astro Van and entered the jewelry store, while the driver of the van remained in the vehicle. One of the suspects who entered the business was armed with a firearm.
Police stated that the weapon will not be specified at this point in time due to the ongoing investigation.
Efren Avila, owner of Universal Jewelers, told TurlockCityNews.com that the robbers came into the store while he was in the back room. As the robbers rushed in, one armed with a gun, his wife, Lilia Avila, was told to open the register. Efren’s son was then told to do it while Lilia was screaming.
As the three men were robbing the store quickly, Efren heard his wife scream. He looked from the back room, saw the robbers, and grabbed a gun of his own.
“When I was looking out from the back, they saw me with a gun and shot at me,” said Efren. “Then they took off.”
The bullet did not strike the Efren and Efren did not get a shot off. The suspects fled from the business and returned to the van, where the fourth suspect had been waiting.
As the van was leaving, an employee of the business also grabbed a gun, ran outside, and shot into the air to get a policeman’s attention that was nearby, according to Efren.
The robbery suspects got away. Nobody was shot or injured during the incident.
The van, which was found abandoned a few blocks from the business, was determined to be have been reported stolen out of Oakland.
Turlock Police Detectives are continuing their investigation and request that anyone with information contact Detective Brandon Bertram at 209-668-5550, extension 6626.
The Turlock Police Department is an active participant in the Crime Stoppers Program. Callers can leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 209-521-4636 and may be eligible for a cash reward.