Oakland police investigating several robberies at convenience, liquor stores across city

ByLeslie Brinkley KGO logo
Wednesday, August 9, 2023
Oakland police investigating several robberies across city
Oakland's crime wave seems to be accelerating in the last week with what appears to be an organized effort to rob convenience and liquor stores.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland's crime wave seems to be accelerating in the last week with what appears to be an organized effort to rob convenience stores and liquor stores across the city.

Some officers are calling for the appointment of a permanent police chief.

Surveillance video shared with ABC7 News by the owner of a Montclair liquor store shows carloads of young men storming into the store at 5:20 a.m. wearing black hoodies.

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The owner says six men stayed outside and six came inside with garbage bags. They methodically stole all of the cigarettes and high-end tequila cognac and champagne, ransacking the place.

Not far away a few days later, another liquor store on Redwood Road had a similar invasion. Seven people in the store stole cash and cigarettes and only the expensive alcohol.

Last week, a car rammed into the front window and door of a liquor store on 23rd Avenue - again with six people and three vehicles involved.

And at 4 a.m. on Monday, a similar heist was caught on surveillance video at a 7-Eleven in downtown Oakland with more than a dozen suspects in hoodies arriving in multiple vehicles.

Hunt Batra works as a cashier.

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"They tried to open the safe. They tried to take the safe, but they didn't succeed for the safe. But they took all the cigarettes from the rack and everything, the tobacco products. It's happening all the time," he said.

"The series of events that's been happening, whether it's break-ins, armed robberies, or carjackings, unfortunately, it just contributes to the sense of fear, chaos, and lawlessness," said Loren Taylor, a former Oakland city council member who ran for mayor.

The Oakland Police Officers' Association put out an urgent plea for a permanent police chief citing huge increases in crime this year throughout Oakland.

ABC7 News asked for an interview with the interim police chief: a request that was declined.

But in the last week, the interim chief did do an interview with CNN as he explained why crime feels different in Oakland now.

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"I think because it's pervasive, not just localized as we've seen. Perhaps it's gang violence. I think that feeling has become that it's everywhere," said Interim Chief Darren Allison.

Oakland police say they're investigating as many residents say they're running scared now.

"The challenge is there is no hope. No vision for where we go or how we can actually escape this," said Taylor.

As a last resort, at least one small business owner says he's replacing his windows with brick walls.

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