Knife-wielding thieves target beloved SJ bakery; surveillance footage details attack

Amanda del Castillo Image
Thursday, August 18, 2022
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Surveillance footage captured the moment thieves entered San Jose's beloved Peter's Bakery, holding bakers at knifepoint.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A beloved San Jose bakery was targeted by thieves in the overnight hours Wednesday morning. Peters' Bakery co-owner, Cap Peters said some bakers were held at knifepoint.

Surveillance footage shared with ABC7 News showed the two minutes it took for the crooks to get away with cash.

However, any way you slice it, it appeared to be business as usual at Peters' Bakery in the city's Alum Rock neighborhood.

The family-owned South Bay staple which opened doors in 1936 had shelves stocked with fan favorites on Wednesday.

Karen Sorensen said, "I got my burnt almond cake here."

"My favorite is always a chocolate chip cookie," Nate Pardo shared.

"We ordered three burnt almond cupcakes," Thomas Cruz-Santos told ABC7 News.

However, at 1:20 a.m., before the shop ever opened to customers, five young crooks entered through the shop's back door. The group interrupted bakers hard at work, grabbed one man by the neck, and held him and others at knifepoint.

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Surveillance footage showed the group roaming through the bakery as they demanded money and a safe.

"They kind of just started looking around, almost frantically, saying, 'Hey what's here? What's here,'" Peters described. "They tried to go out for the cash registers. They couldn't get into them."

Peters said the suspects got away with less than $1,000- mostly petty cash for vendors and tips for workers.

Peters said a few of the bakers were able to run to the back of the shop and call 911.

Still, two minutes is all it took for the group to get in and out- missing police by moments.

"Ironically, there was actually a police officer sitting right there in front of the bakery while everything was happening in the back," he described. He said there was no way the officer would've known what was happening inside the shop.

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During the incident, Peters said some bakers continued their work. Once it was over, others went right back to baking.

"They mitigated the situation. They didn't confront the assailants, didn't try to aggravate them," Peters said. "Nobody's life is worth a few dollars out of our cash box."

Resident Sorensen shared, "Since I just live like, literally within walking distance, that's concerning!"

Surveillance footage was posted to the Peters' Bakery Instagram account, reaching thousands of followers.

Many made the effort to stop by and show their support on Wednesday.

Cruz-Santos told ABC7 News, "It's not much. We didn't get much, but something is better than nothing to help out."

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"We want action to be taken," customer Amrit Singh said. "I think this is getting out of control. We're hearing a lot more robberies of mom and pop shops, and they're not able to defend themselves. We want a safe community for everybody."

Co-owner Peters said warm nights and hot ovens typically result in cracking open the back door for a breeze. He believes the crooks used that as an opportunity to strike.

"I wish that I was in the position where I could reach out to them and say, 'Hey, we'll give you a job. If you're struggling, come work for us. You don't need to do this,'" Peters said. "But everyone's in their own unique situations. I don't know their situation."

Peters credits the support of the community for the bakery's continued success. He said his grandfather built the bakery from the ground up in 1936. He said the outpouring of support following the incident has been tremendously humbling.

"The Alum Rock community, the San Jose community is a very tight," he said. "And we would not be successful if it wasn't for the people around here and the community."

The San Jose Police Department said this is an ongoing investigation.

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