EXCLUSIVE: Social media influencer victim of Oakland robbery; shares tips to keep belongings safe

"I hope by posting this, it can help more people," Tong said.

BySuzanne Phan KGO logo
Thursday, April 13, 2023
EXCLUSIVE: SF social media influencer victim of Oakland robbery
Social media influencer Allie Eats shares ways to keep belongings safe from robberies after falling victim to a smash-and-grab in Oakland.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A terrifying ordeal involving a smash and grab robbery in Oakland. A social media influencer is coming forward months after it first happened to share her story of being robbed while in her car.

She's hoping others - especially female drivers - will hear what she has to say about her purse and critical belongings.

Allie Tong of San Francisco has her dream job.

INTERACTIVE: Take a look at the ABC7 Neighborhood Safety Tracker

"I'm known online as Allie eats. I'm a social media influencer and content creator," said Tong.

Last November, after having dinner with her parents in Oakland, Tong returned to her car. She was parked on 24th Street, between Broadway and Webster. To be safe, her parents drove her to her car and even waited for her to get in, before driving way. But then someone pulled up behind her.

"It was so quick!" said Tong.

Tong was inside her car when someone tapped on her passenger side window. She leaned over and suddenly, the glass shattered.

Image taken by Allie Tong shows shattered glass pieces splattered across a car seat.
Image taken by Allie Tong shows shattered glass pieces splattered across a car seat.

"They blew out the whole window right away and then reached in and grabbed it and they were gone," said Tong.

Someone snatched her tote bag from the passenger seat --with her wallet, house and car keys, and camera.

"I was screaming, making as much noise as possible to get people's attention," said Tong. "Unfortunately, there was no one around at that moment until I got out on the street and I was still screaming and crying. A group of women came running. They were very nice and helpful and were willing to stay with me as long as I needed."

It has been months since that frightening experience. Tong just shared her post on Instagram.

"I hope by posting this, it can help more people," said Tong.

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"The getaway car, that looked like it was waiting for my spot had blocked me in so I couldn't get away. Here are some lessons I've learned from this situation," said Tong.

"The first lesson. Even if you are in your car and your doors are locked, it doesn't mean you're safe. People will just smash your windows. I've learned, don't linger in your car. Get in it, leave as fast as possible," said Tong.

Tong went on to say that if you are with your friend, have them wait for you until you've completely pulled out of your spot before leaving.

Number two. Women - mind your purse.

"Don't put your bag or purse on your passenger seat. Putting it on the floor makes it one step harder to get," said Tong. "Buckle it into the seat, or put it in your trunk so there's no way they could get it."

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Tong's post on Instagram has gotten hundreds of responses. One woman says she carries a black blanket in her car to cover all the items on the floor.

Tong has another suggestion.

"If you get your car key stolen with your stuff, try and not leave your car unattended if possible," said Tong.

Tong's father stayed with the car until someone came back with the spare key.

"The robbers did drive by probably at least five times because every time the car key gets close to the car, the car lights up and starts blinking," said Tong. "We think they were scoping out the car so that if no one was in it, they would steal it."

Tong says her boyfriend was at their home in the Marina District and immediately called a locksmith to change out all the locks.

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Tong said she learned one more important lesson from this ordeal.

"The last one. If you are a photographer like I am, make sure to take your memory card out of your camera after every shoot so that if your camera does get stolen, your work does not get stolen," said Tong.

We checked with ABC7 Neighborhood Safety Tracker about crime in Oakland.

Last year, there were more than 2,600 robberies and 11,700 burglaries.

Tong says she's coming forward because she wants more people to be aware of what to do and what not to do.

"I think all around the Bay Area, it's not that safe anymore," said Tong.

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