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Oakland Businesses Outraged Over Stripped Vehicles Abandoned on Their Street

OAKLAND (KPIX) -- Business owners in an Oakland neighborhood are fed up with the number of stripped cars being abandoned in their area, blocking access and sometimes being left right in the middle of the street.

Businesses complained to city officials that an illegal homeless encampment was being used as a chop shop. Thieves were reportedly abandoning the stripped-out cars in the middle of Alameda Avenue near High Street, blocking traffic.

On Friday morning, KPIX 5 found drivers maneuvering around abandoned cars on Alameda Avenue to get to roughly two dozen businesses in the area, including a Home Depot and a 24 Hour Fitness.

"Just a mess. It's a mess," said Oakland driver Denise Barnes.

The westbound direction was passable since abandoned cars only blocked half of a lane, but the eastbound lane was completely blocked by a handful of cars, most of them without wheels.

"These are cars that are literally sitting in the middle of the street. They're blocking the ability for cars to pass," said Jennifer Yu.

Yu and her husband Kevin Kim own High Street Car Wash next to Alameda Avenue.
They said the cars have been left in the middle of the street for at least
four days, making it difficult for customers to get in and out.

"It's a safety hazard. It's negligence. There's no accountability from the city and we need somebody to be accountable," said Yu.

After their repeated calls, Oakland police and a tow truck company came out Friday and towed nine cars that were blocking traffic.

But a police officer said about six other cars at the corner of Alameda Avenue and East Eight Street would stay at least for now since those cars were not blocking traffic and the department didn't have enough resources.

"It's extremely infuriating," said Kim.

An officer told KPIX 5 car thieves have been using the illegal homeless encampment at the corner of Alameda Avenue and East Eighth Street as a chop shop. Once they were done stripping the cars, they would drag them out to Alameda Avenue to make room for more stolen cars in the encampment.

Businesses said the city wasn't doing enough to stop the crime and quality of life issues connected to the encampment and homeless people living up and down Alameda Avenue.

"They found an individual or two people with almost two dozen guns inside their vehicle. And so, for us, we're scared, you know? We're scared to come out here and go to work," said Kim.

Councilman Noel Gallo represents that area. He said some help is on the way.

"We'll be installing cameras at hot spots, not only to catch the illegal dumping, but also dealing with abandoned cars," said Councilman Gallo.

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