‘I don’t feel safe to be here anymore’: El Monte sneaker shop shuttered after repeated break-ins

An El Monte business owner is shutting down his brick-and-mortar shop after a group of bandits broke into his store and made off with merchandise, then another break-in was attempted.

Exchanged Hype, a high-end sneaker store, opened in owner Efrain Gonzalez’s native El Monte in February.

The shop in Tito’s Plaza was broken into right after it opened, but it wasn’t until after another break-in attempt at the beginning of August that Gonzalez decided to call it quits.

“Yeah it just hit me hard and I don’t know what to do anymore at this point. A lot of money, a lot of mentally — I’m only 20, you know? It hurts me a lot to like close it, because this was my store,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez told KTLA the shoe store was more about people than profits, but now, he’s reverted to operating online only, as he’s done since 2017.

“I don’t feel safe to be here anymore and it’s just sad,” he said. “My door’s broken, my gate’s broken, glass broken, the floor’s broken — there’s a little hole — my shoes are scattered everywhere.”

Gonzalez believes the criminal justice system needs to get tougher with these types of culprits, as the brick-and-mortar business model is simply too much of a headache right now.

His total losses topped $10,000 between costs like store damage and stolen merchandise.

Gonzalez said he filled out police reports and asks anyone with information to contact the El Monte Police Department.

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