Owner details burglary at La Jolla sunglass shop

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

Burglars took about $27,000 worth of merchandise after breaking into Shade Shack, a high-end sunglass shop in the Village of La Jolla at 2 a.m. on Sept. 15, the owner said Thursday.

“They jimmied the front door open with a crowbar,” said Rita Sanford, who owns the business at 7556 Fay Ave., Suite G. “The alarm went off and the police were dispatched, but by the time I got here seven minutes later, the door was open and there was nobody here.”

Sanford said burglars broke six glass cases and took about 300 pairs of designer sunglasses. She said it wasn’t the first time her store had been broken into.

“We were burglarized in November 2008 two and one half months after we opened,” she said. “This time we got them on camera.”

However, Sanford said camera footage showed one burglar was wearing a ski mask and another had a bandana over his face. She said both were wearing hoods and gloves.

“We’re going to have steel shutters put in so we can pull those down at night,” said Sanford.

She noted other sunglass stores in the area have been burglarized in the past couple of years. In May 2009, thieves smashed a window at Sunglass Hut at 1049 Prospect St., and took an estimated $50,000 in designer stock, labels such as Bvulgari, Prada and Versace.

Earlier that month, another Sunglass Hut store at the Del Mar Plaza was robbed of $34,000 worth of sunglasses. That smash-and-grab incident was also captured on tape.

Sanford surmised upscale sunglasses have become a target for thieves because “they’re in high demand and are easy to get rid of.”

“I just wish there was a bigger police presence in La Jolla,” added Sanford. “It took them a half-hour to get here. They (burglars) would have broken in anyway, but if there were more police cars cruising the streets maybe that would slow them down.”