9/23/2014

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Local & Regional

Rash of eyeglass burglaries can be 'pretty devastating' for doctors

Rash of eyeglass burglaries can be 'pretty devastating' for doctors
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A rash of eyeglass burglaries has been taking place all over the state. The thefts are concentrated in the larger cities, Los Angeles and San Francisco, but have been trickling down into smaller cities such as Bakersfield.

The burglars are targeting eye doctors’ offices with their eye on the high-end sunglasses.

"Things that are easy to move, market, to flea markets, to swap meets, to eBay online. It’s easy to take, and quick money,” said Bakersfield Dr. Dawson Li.

Li has two optometrist office locations, and within a one-week period both offices were broken into.

“From the first location we had about 210 to 220 frames in sunglasses taken. Retail, anywhere from $200 to $500 per unit. The other office, about 180 frames in sunglasses taken,” said Li.

He said between the two thefts, he estimated more than $50,000 of merchandise was stolen.

“The first time it hits hard, and the second time it’s kind of a hit below the belt, you know, extra hard,” he said.

Li said many of his colleagues nationwide who have been the victims of this type of theft have been hit more than once. He said when it comes to maintaining insurance coverage this can put them in a bad spot.

“With insurance companies, it’s risk, reward. They may see us as high risk even though we’re like other offices, but we’ve been burglarized twice now.” Li said.

He said at a certain point, insurance companies will no longer insure the offices and if they do it will likely be for catastrophic losses with an astronomical deductible.

“We spend so many of our years working, trying to do things the right way, to have something happen so quickly can be pretty devastating," the doctor said.
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