Casual carpoolers robbed at gunpoint in Oakland


"When you have someone standing there with a gun, holding a gun and threatening, what are you going to do?" victim Sylvie Mwila asked.

So Mwila and seven other casual carpoolers gave up their valuables Monday morning at the pickup stop at Claremont Avenue and Hudson Street in Oakland's Rockridge neighborhood.

Mwila says three young men walked toward those standing in line. She saw one of them pull out a gun.

"One of them went in front of everybody and he signaled this was a robbery and told us to give them everything," Mwila said.

Mwila said the robbers hit the jackpot.

"They took backpacks, they took wallets, they took iPhones, iPads," she said. "People offered to give them money, including myself. They took everything."

In recent weeks, armed robbers have been preying on the well-to-do Rockridge neighborhood. There have been several incidents where young African American men armed with guns have been victimizing pedestrians and even offices.

"I've never had a gun pointed at me before this event of my life, so now I know what that feels like," robbery victim Andy Lee said.

Lee became a victim of a strong-arm robbery on Friday. He was working at his office not far from the casual carpool stop when two robbers barged in.

"They stole my shoulder bag, which contained my wallet, some checkbooks," he said.

Lee and others blame the recent surge of brazen robberies in upscale Rockridge on the shortage of Oakland police.

"Having to focus their time and effort on much more dangerous parts of the city means that more affluent parts are vulnerable to this type of activity," Lee said.

Late Monday afternoon, Oakland police said they detained three men in connection with Monday morning's robbery. They gave no other details.

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