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San Leandro Hit Hard By Looters As Unrest Spreads Across East Bay

SAN LEANDRO (CBS SF) -- Alameda County authorities reported major looting at San Leandro's Bay Fair Mall and elsewhere Sunday night as civil unrest in the East Bay led city officials to order a curfew.

San Leandro officials ordered the curfew effective immediately just before 11 p.m.  after the surge in crime Sunday. Residents were directed to stay at home except for first responders, people seeking medical care and those traveling to and from work.

Earlier, the Alameda County Sheriff's Department confirmed that multiple people were seen going in and out of businesses and looting at the Bay Fair Mall. The sheriff is deploying multiple resources to that part of county. Social media reports said that gunfire has been exchanged involving police and at least one suspect.There was no confirmation of any injuries from the reported shots fired.

At 6:45 p.m., San Leandro police sent out an alert, warning residents to stay from several retail shopping centers including Bay Fair Mall, Marina Square and Walmart where looters had struck. Video from Chopper 5 later in the evening showed looters moving in and out of the Designer Shoe Warehouse at Bay Fair Mall.

The looters moved on to a San Leandro Walmart store on Hesperian Boulevard. People could be seen running in and out of a side door with merchandise, but police have moved in.


Fire units also responded to the store after reports of a fire being lit inside the store. A Home Depot store in the same complex was also targeted.

Oakland police were dealing with several hot spots of illegal activity throughout Sunday night including at the Durant Marketplace in the 18900 block of International Boulevard, downtown (centered along Broadway), the south end of the Port of Oakland and the Embarcadero just off I-880 near the 16th Avenue overcrossing.

Sunday afternoon, mobile roving bands of looters took to East Bay freeways, cherry-picking stores and retail areas in several cities for quick strikes to smash windows and grab armfuls of stolen merchandise.

The unrest in the East Bay led the Alameda County Sheriff's Department to issue an advisory for residents to stay home at around 8:15 p.m..

"All Alameda County residents are advised to stay home due to the civil unrest reported throughout Alameda County and the greater East Bay Area. Unless personal travel is necessary, we are recommending residents stay home due to the high number of police actions," the advisory read. "Currently there are multiple reports of large, mobile groups of rioters and looters traveling throughout the East Bay Area."

It additionally warned that travel on East Bay highways and freeways restricted with multiple road and freeway exit closures expected.

In Milpitas, officers reponded to a burglar alarm Sunday evening at the Great Mall around 7:30 p.m. and found a large group of people running in and out of the Neiman Marcus store, police said. No suspects were arrested but police recovered a vehicle with stolen property at the scene, police said.

"This activity was a planned and coordinated effort to steal property from this store and there is no indication that this group was associated to any protests," said Milpitas Police in a statement.

Along Walnut Creek's Broadway Plaza, several stores including a Target store were ravaged with shelves emptied, windows smashed and merchandise removed.

Video from Chopper 5 showed law enforcement marching through Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek Sunday after looters cleaned out store after store.

They didn't make it past the metal gates at Nordstrom, but bras stolen from Victoria's Secret were littered on the ground along with eyeglasses. A Vans store was also hit.

Not far away at Target, looters could be seen fighting over stolen merchandise. 

The brazen crime spree led Walnut Creek officials to impose an immediate curfew.

"Due to civil unrest in the Broadway Plaza area, the City of Walnut Creek is establishing a curfew, effective at 6:30pm today & asking all businesses downtown to close immediately," Officials tweeted. "Please ensure your doors are locked & secured. Please call 9-1-1 only in the event of an emergency."

Cell phone video showed groups of young adults streaming across the street, rushing toward stories.

Walnut Creek police later confirmed that there were some arrests as police responded to dozens of crime scenes. Police dispatchers received over 100 calls regarding looting and vandalism.

Police were also investigating a shooting that took place near a store that had been burglarized. The victim received first aid from an officer until an ambulance arrived. The shooting is under investigation, police said.

A short time later, Pleasant Hill police also issued an alert of police activity occurring in and around downtown Pleasant Hill and the Crossroads Shopping Center.

At around 8:15 p.m., Pleasanton police tweeted that the threat of looting led authorities to close all five entrances to the Stoneridge Mall.

The Fremont Police Department similarly announced closures of Pacific Commons and the Fremont Hub Sunday evening at around 9:15 p.m. due to looting and safety concerns.

Due to the civil disturbances in the East Bay BART announced the closure of numerous stations including Walnut Creek, Lafayette and Concord. The Bay Fair station in San Leandro, the Hayward station and the 12th Street Oakland City Center station were also shut down in the East Bay.

BART station closures were also in effect at San Francisco's Civic Center and Powell Street stations.

For many retailers, the looting was just the latest dose of misery and loss. Most have been shutdown since mid-March by Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a state-wide shelter-in-place order forced them to shutter their businesses in an effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus. Only within the last several weeks have the restrictions ease to allow them to reopen.

Among those was Keyla Calderon, who swept up glass outside Uniform Advantage, a shop that sells medical scrubs, located in a shopping area in Emeryville that was ravaged by brazen looting on Saturday night.

Calderon's store had just reopened last week after being shuttered for six weeks under California's stay-at-home order. She said she had just returned home Saturday when she got a call from a security company that the store's burglar alarm was triggered.

She turned on the news to see live helicopter shots of people breaking into her shop and others at an outdoor mall. They smashed glass doors, stole clothes and computers and destroyed the cash register.

"To hear the alarm ring and see people destroy the store before my eyes, it was heartbreaking," Calderon said. "We're all working hard to feed our family. We have nothing to do with these injustices, yet we're paying the consequences."

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