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Burglars target small business during power outage in Oakland

Burglars target small business during power outage in Oakland
Burglars target small business during power outage in Oakland 03:18

OAKLAND -- Burglars took advantage of a new eatery in downtown Oakland called Roasted and Raw during a storm-related power outage last Tuesday. 

Co-owner Milton Ashley said he feels anxious as another storm heads into the Bay Area. He has one window boarded up and hopes the next storm won't invite more criminal activity. 

Ashley recently celebrated plant-based eatery's one-year anniversary. The most recent burglary on March 21st was the second in the last five months. 

"The entire building lost power that day, so we figured whoever broke in thought that there wouldn't be enough response time from law enforcement," Ashley said.  "All the alarms in the building weren't working because of the power outage, so they were probably in here probably two minutes." 

It was enough to set Roasted and Raw back about a $1000 in window repairs, on top of the loss in sales during the storm. 

"We weren't ready for last week, we didn't think it was going to be that bad, because usually we get a storm but we've never lost power," he added.

Five months ago, a burglar smashed a different window to get inside, and steal cash. 

"I have customers who come from out of town because we're starting to get known," Ashley said. "Just last week, a gentleman came in from Arizona and he said we were the first person they googled. They came in, they ate, when they went outside, somebody had broken into their car. And I felt horrible because we were the first people they came to see". 

Ashely, who moved to Oakland from Philadelphia, said someone broke into his own car twice, while he was at work. 

"They want to revamp downtown, they want more tourists to come into the Oakland area, but it's hard," he said. 

Frequent customer Angela Jackson said her car and her place of work have both hit by burglars. 

"I don't want to say scary, because it's really just unfortunate that you can't feel comfortable, be safe, to just go out to eat," Jackson said. "Especially the people doing the robberies and the break-ins, I don't think that they understand that they're really hitting the little man." 

Roasted and Raw is just two blocks from city hall. Ashley wants to see more police patrols in the area. 

He added that said he didn't report the break-ins to his insurance fearing he would be dropped or it would trigger his premiums to go up. 

Ashley said he called 911 after the break in, and he was asked to call the non-emergency line. He tried for two days, but either got a busy tone or the phone kept ringing. 

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