California Family Robbed of Heirloom Jewelry During Follow-Home Robbery

California Family Robbed of Heirloom Jewelry During Follow-Home Robbery

A follow-home robbery suspect is seen in home security footage in Fullerton, Calif., on Dec. 22, 2023. (Facebook/Priyanka Wali screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

12/28/2023

Updated: 1/11/2024

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Police are investigating the robbery of a Fullerton, California, couple after they were followed home Dec. 22 from a jewelry store by a group of suspects.
According to their daughter Priyanka Wali, at about 8 p.m. Friday, the couple was followed back to their home from a South Asian jewelry store in Cerritos, about 16 miles away, by a group of suspects allegedly driving a black Honda Odyssey with tinted windows.
After they arrived in their driveway, her father Dr. Vijay Wali was assaulted and her mother Dr. Jyotika Wali was robbed of her purse, which contained valuable jewelry and ancestral heirlooms.
One of the suspects was speaking Spanish and said “take it from her,” meaning her mother’s purse, the daughter said.
Fullerton Police Department detectives are aware of the incident and the investigation is ongoing, according to Sgt. Ryan O’Neil.
“To maintain the integrity of the investigation, there will not be a press release at this time,” Mr. O’Neil said in a statement read to The Epoch Times.
The family, however, has taken their case to social media, posting video and details about the incident. They are asking for the public to help catch the suspects.
“Please share this so we can identify these men and justice can be served,” the couple’s daughter Priyanka Wali pleaded in a Facebook post Dec. 25.
The group had at least two cars and multiple people involved in the robbery at the couple’s home, Ms. Wali said.
“These criminals were highly organized and determined to rob and assault my family,” Ms. Wali wrote on Facebook Dec. 25.
A follow-home robbery suspect is seen in home security footage in Fullerton, Calif., on Dec. 22, 2023. (Facebook/Priyanka Wali screenshot via The Epoch Times)

A follow-home robbery suspect is seen in home security footage in Fullerton, Calif., on Dec. 22, 2023. (Facebook/Priyanka Wali screenshot via The Epoch Times)

The family shared home security video footage on social media taken during the incident, showing the couple’s white vehicle parked in the driveway. Mrs. Wali left the vehicle and walked toward the house, while Mr. Wali opened the trunk of their car.
One of the suspects—who was wearing a black beanie, black turtleneck shirt, dark pants, and black shoes—then approached Mr. Wali, the video shows, and shoved him into the side of his sedan in the family’s driveway.
A struggle ensued, which ended when Mr. Wali was thrown onto the pavement before the suspects ran away with the jewelry and other items.
The couple’s daughter and her fiancé were in the house, and the fiancé attempted to chase after the suspects in his car but was unable to catch them.
Some of the earrings and other jewelry stolen in Mrs. Wali’s purse were family heirlooms. They had just picked them up from a jewelry store after having them cleaned, according to the family.
“When I cry about this, I’m not just crying my own tears. It’s my grandmother’s tears being cried as well,” Priyanka Wali told Inside Edition.
The Orange County District Attorney’s office couldn’t comment on the active investigation but told The Epoch Times the office was investing resources into holding these criminals accountable, according to Kimberly Edds, spokeswoman for District Attorney Todd Spitzer.
Last year, Mr. Spitzer created a prosecution unit called H.E.I.S.T. (Home Invasion Eradication Interdiction Strike Team) dedicated to prosecuting home invasion burglaries and robberies, commercial burglaries, and smash-and-grab robberies in the county.
More than 140 defendants were charged in connection with these crimes as of May, according to Mr. Spitzer’s office. Some of the defendants were charged with hate crimes for targeting Asian homeowners.
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Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

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Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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