Novelty shop in Southern California robbed at gunpoint

The owner of a novelty gaming store in San Bernardino County is speaking out after his store, which has been open less than a year, was robbed a third time, with the latest thief threatening his employees at gunpoint.

Surveillance cameras at the store, Into the Retroverse, located in the 800 block of West Valley Boulevard in Colton, captured a man dressed in dark clothing, including a hoodie and mask, stroll into the store and walk directly behind one of the display cases.

“He just started taking stuff and said, ‘I need the money,’ and that’s when my buddy Alex went and tried to attack him,” store employee Arturo Garcia told KTLA’s Jennifer McGraw. “That’s when we started doing it in all out brawl.

The April 12 incident occurred at around 8 p.m. and it’s not the first time thieves have targeted the gaming store. Into the Retroverse was robbed on Nov. 6th and Thanksgiving Day last year as well.

Footage of the incident shows the robber in a tussle with two of the store’s employees, one of which was the owner’s brother. After struggle that left much of the store’s merchandise thrown around the shop, the three men fall to the ground where the gunman was unmasked.

“I tried to throw him to the ground,” employee Alexander Bernal explained. “That’s when he got tired and took out the gun.”

Keeping his gun up and pointed at the employees, the man continued filling his bag with stolen merchandise before eventually leaving the store with an estimated $3,000-$5,0000 worth of Pokémon Cards, according to Jovanne Bernal, who owns the novelty shop.

Bernal’s brother, Alexander, said the violence was frightening and he worried that thief would shoot him while he was still on the ground.

“After he pulled out the gun, he said he should’ve messed me up or he should’ve shot me,” Alexander said.

Into the Retroverse, a childhood dream of Jovanne’s, is located in Colton City Plaza across the street from Colton High School and has only been open for seven months.

“It sucks,” he told KTLA. “You spend your life trying to build it and then somebody just walks in and says I’m going to take it and because of how things are, they can.”

The shop owner filed a police report with the Colton Police Department, who already has a detective on the previous robberies at the store but says Colton City Plaza’s management needs to step up security before someone is attacked again or, worse, senselessly gunned down.

“We’re working on it,” is what he says the plaza’s management has told him. “Three times I’ve been broken into in the past six or seven months and they are still working on it.”

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Jovanne also said that seeing surveillance footage of the violent encounter has shaken him up.

“It’s more personal because you talked to Alex, that’s my brother,” he said. “He’s been supporting me since day one.”

KTLA has reached out to management at Colton City Plaza and are waiting to hear back if there are plans to get more security for the shops and employees renting space in the shopping center.

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