Owners of a camera store in San Francisco fought off attempted smash-and-grab robbers who began hammering display cases.
"All of a sudden, they pulled out a hammer and they started trying to smash the glass," co-owner of the Chinatown camera store, only identified as Sergio, told KPIX.
Three teenagers reportedly walked into the store on Grant Avenue after 3 p.m. Monday and inquired about the price of a camera. They left the store, but returned 30 minutes later and tried to hammer display cases.
Most of the cases, however, are made of plexiglass and would not break. The suspects eventually hit the top of one display case, which was made of glass, and shattered it.
The attack soon turned from breaking the display case to attacking Sergio and his co-owner, identified by KPIX as Ariel.
"One of the guys up there is trying to hit my partner with a hammer," Sergio told the outlet. "I run and I try to grab a bat that I have. Try to protect myself and my business here."
A neighboring business owner also helped fight off the robbers with a sandwich display board. That man was hit in the head with a hammer and required stitches, KPIX repored.
"One of the guys, they put the pepper spray in my eyes," said Sergio. "The other guy is trying to hit me with a hammer and I’m trying to protect myself."
The hammer attack and attempted robbery was over within a minute and left the co-owners scared.
"We don’t know these people. They know where we are because we cannot take this stuff and go," said Sergio. "But now, I’m worried. After this, I’m worried and I’m scared – because god forbid if they come back. Hopefully they not gonna come back. But if they come back with a gun, what happens?"
The San Francisco Police Department said the suspects fled in a car. Authorities are asking the public to come forward with any tips on the suspects.
The San Francisco area has been plagued with smash-and-grab robberies and shoplifting in recent months. In one of the most high-profile cases last year, a mob of about 80 people wearing ski masks and holding crowbars stormed a Nordstrom location in Walnut Creek, which is about 25 miles outside San Francisco.
Authorities have laid blame for the spike in crimes on Proposition 47, which passed in 2014 and reduced shoplifting charges regarding the theft of $950 or less from felonies to misdemeanors.