Foster City Chinese restaurant burglarized, raising community's concern over rise in property crimes

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Saturday, September 17, 2022
Chinese restaurant burglarized amid Foster City's rising crime rate
Foster City restaurant Chez Xue was burglarized Monday, which raises concern over a rise in property crimes in the past three years.

FOSTER CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- Residents in a quiet city on the Peninsula are taking extra precautions after a string of criminal activity, and statistics that show their concerns may be valid.

With the lunchtime rush at Chez Xue in Foster City, comes a sign of the Bay Area's woes as soon as you walk inside.

Signs reading "NO CASH, CARD ONLY" can be seen on the front desk area where orders are taken.

"It's very scary to watch other businesses, especially in Chinatown in SF or other high crime areas, be strong-arm robbed. We thought it would be best to convert our business to card only so we won't be a target for people to steal money," said You You Xue, who, along with his family, owns the restaurant.

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But ironically, not long after those signs went up, Xue's sense of security came crashing down Monday morning.

"I was absolutely blown away," he said.

Surveillance from the restaurant shows a man breaking open the lockbox on the front door and looking around in the kitchen. Another video shows him stacking up boxes of iPads and stealing four boxes of cooking oil.

"I can see why this is actually worth almost as much as the iPad!" Xue said.

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The cooking oil costs $50 a box, which has more than doubled during the time of the pandemic, and it's like liquid gold to restaurants these days.

The Foster City Police Department said that it recovered the stolen iPads on Thursday in San Francisco and that it was looking at different people of interest based on the location of the devices and interviews conducted.

Foster City is known for its idyllic lagoon and waterways and isn't a place that makes the news much. The city website even touts itself as the 63rd safest city in America.

Restaurant goers outside Chez Xue agree, saying their neighborhoods are generally quiet.

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However, just weeks ago, after an 85-year-old man was followed home from the Costco across the street and robbed of his $30,000 Rolex, that has Xue and some community members on even higher alert.

"I think it's very unfortunate that business owners need to be looking over their shoulder all the time," Xue said.

Those feelings of insecurity appear to be valid.

According to FBI stats, property crime has been on the rise in Foster City since 2019, with a significant uptick from 482 cases in 2020 to 608 in 2021. While data from this year is not yet available, it isn't stopping Xue from taking extra precautions.

"Instead of focusing on the food, we need to focus on the security. it's disappointing but until we see further change, it's a reality of doing business in the Bay Area," he said.

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