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Jeweler installs high-tech security to protect what's his

Posted at 10:41 PM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 00:05:39-05

Recent crimes such as an armed robbery at a local convenience store, and thefts at local pawn shops, have some area business owners concerned for their safety. The owner of Gold Masters Jewelers on Ayers Street, for one, said he isn't taking any chances.

De la Fuente said his business was robbed four months ago in broad daylight.

"Just a few months ago we did have a grab and run," he said.

The thief got away with a $5,000 piece of jewelry, said De la Fuente, but some newly installed safety measures now make him feel his staff, and merchandise, are more protected.

"I've noticed that (crime has) surely increased, and because it has increased it has made us more observant," he said. "We are now taking the offense to it."

When a thief targeted his business, and a family member was caught up in it, he said enough was enough. He said the recent crime increase may have forced him to change a few things, but he's not going anywhere.

"And that was it: I'm done," De la Fuente said. "I'm going to get this system."

De la Fuente's family-run business has been at its location across from Del Mar College's East Campus for more than a decade, but he only recently felt the need for heightened security.

The $18,000 worth of upgrades include a mechanism that requires visitors to be buzzed in, allowing staff to regulate who enters and who exits, as well as automatic hurricane shutters to ensure his livelihood is secure even when no one is at the store.

With hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, security and safety is a top priority for De la Fuente.

"We have some bulletproof doors that lead to the back, and we also have some bulletproof peepholes so we could see who is here," he said. "We have camera systems from all angles that can catch you wherever you're at -- inside the store and even outside."

It's given him and his staff peace of mind. He hopes all the new security will deter a wannabe thief from targeting his business again.

"They pull on that door first and they see 'Wait a minute,' " he said. "And they see 'I have to press the buzzer, and then they let me in.' It shows them there is controlled access here."