Police ask for help identifying looters


"We warned you guys and told you guys that this city was going to go down in hell and in flames," a protestor in Oakland said during the Mehserle demonstrations on Thursday, July 9, 2010.

A masked demonstrator minced no words about his intentions when night fell in Oakland last Thursday, nor did Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason, when he released images of suspected looters and troublemakers today.

"This is not a playground for criminals to come in and loot and steal items in the city of Oakland," he said.

The digital images came from the public and press photographers covering the disturbances.

"We are asking the community's help in identifying the individuals that are pictured in these photographs. There's a reward of up to $1,000 for information," Thomason said.

Police say they made 78 arrests Thursday night and most of those booked were not Oakland residents.

"I know citizens of Oakland are very upset about what took place in their city, about having outside agitators come in and loot and steal items from local businesses," Thomason said.

Police hope, with the community's help, they will make more arrests.

"We are encouraging individuals to come out hand and hand with us and let's take back our communities," Captain Essie Joyner from the Oakland Police Department said.

Welcoming words for anxious merchants worried about the layoffs of some 80 officers.

The annual Chinatown Street Fest in August has always had some private security, and the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce will beef it up this year.

"Probably this year we'll have a few more as compared to last year to give people a sense of comfort coming to Oakland Chinatown," Jennie Ong from the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce said.

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