‘Mommy bandits’ grab jewelry, designer merchandise at La Jolla shop

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Surveillance video shows a stunning crime playing out in a La Jolla shop: women holding young children in one arm and stealing with the other.

Lucie BongLai Le says she was filled with dread, after discovering missing items at the 2nd Act West, the consignment shop she’s owned for 9 years.

When she looked at the surveillance video, the dread turned to something else.

“I feel a different anger each time I watch it,” said Le.

Last Friday, just past 4 pm, three women are seen walking into the shop, stroller in tow. Two of them are holding young children, one is a baby and the other is a toddler girl.

Lee says her clerk let her guard down.

“She just thought, young moms with the children out shopping,” said Le.

At first, the women browse and look around, but minutes later, while one of the women engages the clerk, the woman holding the toddler emerges from the dressing room with a blouse.

The third woman yanks the baby by the arm out of the stroller, as an item is stuffed into the stroller. Lee says it’s a Chanel bag.

“When I see that, to me, those kids are not as important as the items she’s stealing from the store,” said Le.

Minutes later, one of the women reaches over and slowly begins opening the jewelry case. Soon after, the woman holding the toddler grabs the tray of gemstone rings.

Moments later, another woman grabs another tray full of gold and diamond rings. She makes one last grab before the group leaves the shop.

“Financially, it’s very painful,” said Le.

Le says the women got away with more than $75,000 in jewelry, bags, and sunglasses.

She says her insurance is expected to cover about a third of that.

As the police investigation begins, Le is hoping the women will be arrested, not only to make her whole, but for the welfare of the children.

“What are they teaching them? How could any mom do that to their children? What are they thinking?” said Le.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.