Security camera video captured the tense moments when a group of thieves robbed an Arlington County store owned by a man known in the community for his charity work.
On Tuesday, robbers smashed cases at EyeSee Optique that displayed luxury glasses frames while customers were shopping inside.
“It happened so fast, and I'm still shaking from it as I'm talking to you here,” owner Waheed Abbasi said.
On security footage, a man can be seen walking through the locked front door. Then another man enters and holds the door for three others.
News4's Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey has been covering this side of the state since joining NBC4 in 1992. She's joined by reporter Drew Wilder.
The five suspects take hammers to the cases and fill bags with Cartier, Dior and Gucci frames, about $60,000 of merchandise.
"I'm happy that our clients are safe, I'm happy that Mary and I are safe. We couldn't really do much because they were so careless, they were just in here with trash bags and just grabbing whatever they were able to get their hands on,” Abbasi said.
What the crooks might not know is that when Abbasi isn't running his shop, he's supporting the community.
This past Thanksgiving, he led a group of volunteers who put together hot meals for Afghan refugees and their families living in our area.
“We give and, you know… we were hit pretty hard yesterday. And I don’t think that it should’ve happened, but it did,” he said.
When the thieves ran out of his store, Abbasi recorded the getaway.
The five suspects hopped into a pickup truck with Carmax plates on the front and Maryland temporary tags on the back, speeding off with the merchandise that helps Abbasi pay for the work that helps the community.
Arlington County police said they're investigating, and that right now, they don't believe the getaway car was a stolen vehicle.