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Citing crime, In-N-Out announces closure of Oakland restaurant

Oakland In-N-Out to close due to concerns about crime
Oakland In-N-Out to close due to concerns about crime 03:33

In-N-Out said Sunday it will close its only Oakland restaurant in March over crime and safety concerns for its customers and employees.

The location is at 8300 Oakport St., near the Oakland International Airport. In-N-Out Burger follows a long line of businesses that have shut down in the last year citing crime as the driving factor.  

UPDATE: Oakland mayor to work on further protecting Hegenberger corridor after In-N-Out closure announcement

The restaurant was busy on Sunday evening with dozens of cars inching along the drive-thru line, and many customers were dining inside, including loyal customer Jan Bundy.

"The first time I tasted one of their burgers, I was like, 'Oh my God,'" said Bundy.  

The life-long East Oakland resident comes to the In-N-Out restaurant at least twice a week. He's well aware of the car break-ins in the parking lot. There are warning signs in front of In-N-Out and throughout the lot. He witnessed thieves breaking into a car next to him.

"They have weapons, so you don't want to run up and be no hero," said Bundy.

Less than two months ago, it happened to his truck when he ate inside the dining room.

"They were trying to steal my vehicle, but I had a kill switch on. So they couldn't get my vehicle, but they took all my belongings out," recalled Bundy.

He estimated the damage cost him about $500. Now his partner stays in the truck while he orders inside. He said he was not surprised In-N-Out is shutting down the Oakland location.

"It's really a sad moment," said Bundy.

"I'm definitely frustrated. Because if it's not In-N-Out, it's something else tomorrow," said Oakland resident Jenny Goeppner.

"These are people's jobs, and it's essential to have jobs so we can spend money in the community," said Oakland resident Darryl Brown.

Customers, In-N-Out Burger associates regularly victimized by car break-ins, says fast-food restaurant 

The San Francisco Chronicle reported since 2019, police have recorded 1,335 incidents in and around the fast food restaurant, more than any other location in Oakland. Most of the reported incidents were car break-ins targeting visitors coming through Oakland International Airport.

Employees told KPIX they've seen armed robberies of customers as well.

"It's terrifying, because it also puts us in danger," said In-N-Out worker Daisy Nunez-Valenzuela.

Nunez-Valenzuela said thieves stay away when officers patrol the lot. But they're only there for a few hours a day.

"[The thieves] look around all the time, and then they see P.D. leaves for a second, and that's when they take the chance," said Nunez-Valenzuela.

In-N-Out released a statement that reads in part "Despite taking repeated steps to create safer conditions, our customers and associates are regularly victimized by car break-ins, property damage, theft, and armed robberies."

The full statement can be read below.

Oakland councilwoman calls on city, mayor to provide more police resources

"We're in a state of emergency. We're in a state of emergency. Should it have to take a declaration to deliver (services) when we're living this. My district has been in crisis," said Councilwoman Treva Reid, who represents the area.

She said she's been calling on the city council and Mayor Sheng Thao to provide more police resources. But she said she has gotten very little support.

"The Oakland Airport, the Hegenberger/98th area corridor is a gateway into the East Bay. And we have got to invest more and have dedicated regional, statewide collaboration on how we're going to support and strengthen that corridor," said Reid.

A Starbucks store in the same lot shut down late last year. Raising Cane's is doing drive-thru only to prevent car break-ins. In-N-Out said it's last day will be on March 24.

"This is the worse it has ever been," said Bundy.

KPIX reached out to Mayor Thao's press office on Sunday afternoon for comment. We did not hear back by press time.

The closure of the In-N-Out location is just the latest in a slew of Oakland businesses to shut down. Many of those business owners have cited crime as a contributing factor.

Oakland's popular Vietnamese restaurant Le Cheval closed its doors back in September. Owner Son Tran told CBS News Bay Area that crime was killing his business.

In addition to repeated break-ins at the restaurant, Tran blamed auto burglaries and violent crime for the shutdown. He said some customers were even robbed at gunpoint.

"Even right in front of the restaurant, their car is still broken into. And they're really mad.  And they told me 'Son, I love your restaurant. I love your food. I love your family, but I cannot come back to Oakland. A $30 meal becomes $500 something," said Tran.

In late September, 200 Oakland business owners who were fed up with crime in the city participated in a one-day strike to bring attention to what they call lack of action from officials.

Full statement from In-N-Out regarding closure of Oakland location

We have made the decision to close our In-N-Out Burger location in Oakland, California, due to ongoing issues with crime. Despite taking repeated steps to create safer conditions, our Customers and Associates are regularly victimized by car break-ins, property damage, theft, and armed robberies. Our last day of business in Oakland will be Sunday, March 24, 2024.

We are grateful for the local community, which has supported us for over 18 years, and we recognize that this closure negatively impacts our Associates and their families.

Additionally, this location remains a busy and profitable one for the company, but our top priority must be the safety and wellbeing of our Customers and Associates - we cannot ask them to visit or work in an unsafe environment.

All affected Associates will have the opportunity to transfer to a nearby In-N-Out location or, alternatively, receive a severance package. In-N-Out Burger has a history of supporting the Oakland community through charitable giving that predates the opening of our location there. Although we will no longer do business there, we will continue to support local charitable organizations in Oakland through our In-N-Out Burger Foundation and Slave 2 Nothing Foundation.

Denny Warnick Chief Operating Officer In-N-Out

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