Gun slinging robbers taking over Oakland

April 15, 2008 5:49:38 PM PDT
Oakland diners have been targeted by nonstop robberies at gunpoint.

"Three subjects enter and one of them pulls out from his waistband a weapon. You see two of the subjects there armed. They're holding up the employee there of the business."

As captured in a surveillance video, four men wearing dark hoodies, one armed with an assault pistol, took over this popular Italian restaurant on Grand Avenue at 9:15pm Sunday night. Twenty-two people were in the restaurant. Diners gave up wallets and valuables with guns pointed at them.

Two doors down, a restaurant owner says the men cased his place moments before.

"They looked in and we only had a few tables. They just walked by. About 10 minutes later, four of them, just whoosh, ran out that way."

"It's pretty scary, I can't imagine anything like that happened in this area. It's pretty well traversed, foot traffic and cars going around so it's pretty bold for people to target such an obvious open-to-the-street restaurant,"

Five other family restaurants in seemingly safe pockets of Oakland have been hit in the last few weeks.

"The gun, anytime you have a gun pointed at you, your employees, your family, it's ugly. It's very ugly."

The owner of Red Boy Pizza had a gun at his head the evening of March 31. The next week, Rainbow Cafe on International Boulevard was targeted, then a Cybelle's Pizza on Moraga. And then, a popular downtown Vietnamese restaurant was robbed. All robberies involved hooded gunmen taking over.

Last Friday, they struck A Chinese restaurant on Macarthur Boulevard. Police are hoping someone will phone in a tip.

"They'll park their vehicle blocks away and pull up their hoodies right away. If you're out walking your dog or eating out and see people who look out of place to you, you need to tell somebody."


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