By Don Ford

SAN CARLOS (KPIX 5) — Designated as non-essential and shut down for months during the pandemic, Geoffrey’s Diamonds and Goldsmith was set to reopen this week.

But on Sunday, the night before the family-owned business opened its doors, eight women using sledgehammers smashed their way into the closed jewelry store. It was not clear whether the break-in was related to the ongoing looting associated with protests across the Bay Area.

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Owner Nikko Kandhari says it’s his worst nightmare. “We finally got a green light! Let’s open up June 1st, and now on June 1st, the night of the 31st, this happened. I was … I was in tears, literally,” said Kandhari. “My employees were, like, ‘Listen, we will get through this.’ I said, ‘When will this stop?’”

The real diamonds were locked away in the vault. The display cases were empty but, the damage to the expensive security glass is extensive. The front door is nearly destroyed.

Operations manager Jillian Rebol says the thieves may have been looking for something specific.

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“Some went behind the case over here, others went behind the case over here and then two were focusing on this case,” said Rebol. “So, it kind of looks like they may have cased us because they knew there was stuff underneath.”

The thieves didn’t do a very good job planning because there wasn’t anything of real value to take. Police responded in seven minutes but the suspects had already scattered.

Local businesses here in San Carlos are a tight-knit group. “I understand what small businesses go through and we’ve already had plenty of setbacks and now they have another setback, but at least their store is not destroyed,” said Chris Zammit who owns Summit Auto Body.

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Kandhari says it may take weeks before the glass is replaced.