Caught on Video: Shoplifting ring targets designer sunglasses

SAN DIEGO -  A ring of shoplifters have their eyes on optometry businesses, and now San Diego police hope to crack the case thanks to clear surveillance video.

Officers have been investigating a series of thefts targeting optometry and eye care businesses over the last several months.

Thieves hit New Optix Optometry in Kearny Mesa five times in August. The men try on several pairs of high-end sunglasses and then walk out with the stolen merchandise. Unfortunately for them, it was all caught on camera.

Surveillance video shot Tuesday afternoon at New Optix Optometry shows a suspected shoplifter who tries on several pairs of glasses, walks around the store and then takes off with three pairs of high-end sunglasses worth over a thousand dollars.

“The last few cases, in the last month they came in, with frames in their hands and they would just walk right out,” said New Optix Optometry owner Dr. Michael Tran.

He says the suspects hit his business five times in the last month and were able to make off with almost $5,000 in frames.

“It’s not easy owning a small business out here in San Diego. So every time something like this happens it’s a big hit. You know, it’s a big step back,” said Dr. Tran.

Another incident in August was also caught on surveillance camera. The suspect can be seen trying on glasses and then running out the door with merchandise in hand.

“It’s definitely concerning. I know a lot of my colleagues it happens to them. I talked to the police yesterday and it happened in Mira Mesa by possibly the same guys, the description matched,” said Dr. Tran.

Police say they are investigating several similar cases that they believe are related. They say eye care businesses are easy targets because products are valuable and easily accessible.

The business is now keeping higher end products under lock and key. Dr. Tran hopes someone will see the video and help police identify the thieves.

“I’m here to focus on my patients, and for this to happen on the side, this is definitely a huge distraction,” said Dr. Tran. “I definitely wanted to put this out there to see if we can put a stop to this.”

If you recognize the men in the video, please call the San Diego Police Department.

To report some non-emergency crimes you can file a police report online, or you can call the SDPD's 24-hour number for non-emergency calls and general information at (619) 531-2000 (PLEASE USE (858) 484-3154 IF YOU LIVE IN THE 858 Area Code).