Brazen burglary spree targets Oakland Chinatown businesses
OAKLAND -- Oakland Chinatown businesses are demanding more police presence following a string of burglaries on Thursday morning.
Surveillance videos showed a group of people breaking into at least seven businesses, including restaurants and a salon.
Most of the break-ins occurred on one block of 8th Street between Webster and Franklin Streets. Authorities believe the same burglars also broke into an insurance office a block away on Harrison Street.
Surveillance footage shows a burglar pointing a gun as the group went into different rooms to look for the cash register inside Lounge Chinatown, a restaurant that opened in December.
"I feel numb but I also feel enraged," said Darlene Wong, social media manager at Lounge Chinatown.
Video from the restaurant's surveillance camera showed there were seven burglars and two different cars.
It took the thieves about 14 minutes to get inside Lounge Chinatown. They first used a bolt cutter, then a reciprocating saw and, finally, a hammer to break down the fence and front door.
Aside from taking money, the burglars also took expensive alcohol from the restaurant's bar.
Wong said that, between the money taken and the damage caused by the burglars inside the business, the business lost roughly $36,000.
"It's such a financial setback," Wong said.
"They take everything, they're everywhere and they come all at once, they come in groups," said Francis Lan, president of Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.
The Chinatown chamber held a community meeting and press conference Friday morning.
Fed-up business owners said that, while they appreciate the police presence during the day, they also want patrols at night.
Oakland police said the burglars hit more than 12 businesses throughout the city. Police added that they are stepping up patrols in Chinatown and the other affected business districts.
Wong hopes customers will support Lounge Chinatown and that the restaurant can survive the burglary.
"Please support us," Wong said
There have been no arrests so far and police believe the cars used in the burglaries were stolen.
The Oakland Chinatown Chamber Foundation has established a GoFundMe page to raise money to help the affected businesses.
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