'It doesn't make sense': Oakland small businesses hit again by vandals, cleanup underway

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A big cleanup was happening in Oakland Saturday. Small business owners were repairing dozens of shattered windows along Telegraph Avenue after vandals left a path of destruction overnight.

Plywood was going up outside Mark's Paint Mart on Telegraph Avenue where six windows were smashed Friday night by vandals.

"It makes no sense," said Chris Rago.

Co-owner Chris Rago says his family-owned business started in 1973 has never been targeted.

"We were just back open and getting busy again, now this happens, it makes no sense," Rago said.

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Oakland Police say groups of vandals are responsible for the damage. The paint store's security cameras captured a group outside the store, setting fires on the street.

Nearby, employees at the Kelly Moore store were scraping paint off the floor after vandals broke in, looted and dumped paint inside and out.

"Basically they vandalized the street and sidewalk, broke our glass, inside destroyed," said manager Mark Lavato.

At least a half dozen businesses were shoveling shattered glass, including nonprofit East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, which proudly supports recent marches and demonstrations.

"I know there's a lot of anger out there, it's understandable and forgivable," said board President Mary Miller.

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Neighbors Emily and James Chen were helping to clean up the damage.

"Especially if you support what's happening with the movement of Black Lives Matter and you were impacted that's tough," said Emily Chen.

Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb toured the damage.

It's immature and does not help the cause at all, it distracts from the cause and hurts local businesses," Kalb said.

The Oakland Police Department is investigating the incident and have not made any arrest in connection with the break-ins. In a statement they said:

"On June 12, 2020, at approximately 10:22 PM the Oakland Police Departments Communication Division received reports of a group of 100 individuals, some armed with bats in the 4000 block of Telegraph Avenue. Agitators then blocked the streets with trash cans and set them on fire. Numerous businesses were vandalized with windows broken, and a building in the area was set on fire. As officers were responding to the reports of disruptive and unruly activity, agitators began to aggressively throw rocks and bottles damaging police vehicles. No officers were reported injured in this incident."

The department said the stores damaged were between 3900 to 4800 blocks of Telegraph Avenue and are asking for the businesses to submit any video footage or photographs to help identify and arrest those responsible for damaging the storefronts.
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