Major Robbery at PNG Jewelers in Sunnyvale Leads to Pursuit and Arrests

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Sunnyvale (California), 15th June 2024: In a dramatic heist on Wednesday afternoon, approximately 20 suspects armed with hammers and tools stormed PNG Jewelers at 791 E. El Camino Real. The brazen robbery, which took place around 1:27 p.m., saw the suspects smashing display cases and fleeing the scene in multiple vehicles before officers from the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety (DPS) arrived.

Responding promptly to the robbery in progress, Sunnyvale DPS officers initiated vehicle enforcement stops as they located two of the suspect vehicles attempting to escape. Both vehicles evaded, leading officers on pursuits that stretched from Sunnyvale onto Highway 101 towards the peninsula.

The pursuit of the first vehicle was terminated after officers lost sight of it. Meanwhile, during the chase of the second vehicle, suspects began discarding stolen jewelry from the moving car. Despite this, officers also lost sight of the second vehicle and ended the pursuit. However, allied agency officers later found the abandoned vehicle on Highway 101 near Whipple Avenue.

Five suspects were seen fleeing the vehicle on foot, running across the freeway and into a nearby industrial area. The suspects were apprehended near Industrial Road and Britan Avenue in San Carlos, with the assistance of a DPS Police Service Dog. The suspects, identified as Tonga Latu, Tavake Esafe, Ofa Ahomana, Kilifi Leaaetoa, and Afuhia Lavakeiaho, were arrested and booked into Santa Clara County Jail.

The charges against the suspects include armed robbery, felony vehicle evasion, resisting arrest, burglary, conspiracy to commit a crime, vandalism, possession of burglary tools, and outstanding warrants. Some of the stolen jewelry has been recovered, but the total value of the stolen items remains unknown.

No injuries were reported during the robbery. Sunnyvale DPS extended their gratitude to the California Highway Patrol, Palo Alto Police Department, Belmont Police Department, South San Francisco Police Department, and the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office for their critical assistance.

The investigation is ongoing, with authorities examining potential links to a similar robbery at another jewelry store in Sunnyvale that occurred in May, involving multiple suspects.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is urged to contact Detective Thomas McKenzie at (408) 730-7110, Department of Public Safety has appealed.