EXCLUSIVE: 5 burglaries in 1 year has Bay Area business owner afraid of losing insurance coverage

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Tuesday, April 4, 2023
EXCLUSIVE: 5 burglaries in 1 year has Bay Area business worried
An El Sobrante business owner says after repeated burglaries, he has only filed an insurance claim once fearing his coverage will be dropped.

EL SOBRANTE, Calif. (KGO) -- A Bay Area man, whose business has been vandalized and targeted in attempted burglaries five times in one year, is fed up with the repeated crime. Khalid Zouhair of KM Cash for Gold in El Sobrante says the crimes are costing him thousands in damage and he has only filed an insurance claim once, fearing his coverage will be dropped.

"It's very stressful, it's very frustrating, it's a terrible thing that I don't wish would happen to anyone," says Zouhair who has owned the shop in a tiny shopping plaza for 10 years. He says other than one burglary in 2019, the past year has been the most challenging.

The Contra Costa Sheriff's Office confirmed the last three instances of attempted burglary happened in the first few months of 2023. Surveillance video shows masked, gloved suspects use crowbars to gain entry multiple times, and use chains in an attempt to drag a safe out the front door. The last attempt was possibly the most brazen and involved guns.

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"Eleven people! Eleven burglars came here they broke the door, got inside and for one minute, tried to burglarize, but they left and gave up," said Zouhair.

Despite thousands of dollars in damage to the building including holes hammered into walls and leftover debris, Zouhair still didn't want to file a claim. It's something insurance broker Xavier Quan understands.

"Crime is becoming a bigger issue, we're seeing insurance agencies using proprietary crime scores to determine if they want to look at a business and place coverage. There are locations in Oakland where you run the zip code and get the crime score and they'll get declined even if the building is a very nice building," said Quan.

The insurance industry has a unique challenge in the Bay Area. In addition to the crime factor, Quan says insurers factor in the age of buildings and fire risk. Even after a business owner secures insurance, filing a claim after a crime can add additional problems.

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"They may raise your premium, they may drop you. The deductions too," says Quan, who recommends businesses focus on prevention with additional security measures such as cameras and alarm systems.

Zouhair has done exactly that and does not keep anything of value at the location overnight. Despite his frustrations, he doesn't plan to leave his location anytime soon and is grateful nobody has gotten hurt.

"I have a lot of customers, and I built my business so I'm thankful and I would stay here as long as I'm in California," said Zouhair.

He makes this plea to the community, law enforcement and anyone who is able to make a change.

"I hope they catch these guys and arrest them. They have to be held accountable. We can't be tolerant," said Zouhair.

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