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Oakland store manager chases away thieves then cops detain him

Oakland store manager chases away thieves then cops detain him
Oakland store manager chases away thieves then cops detain him 01:57

OAKLAND (KPIX) -- An Oakland liquor store is picking up the pieces after an early morning break-in. The manager of U & I Liquor on Telegraph Avenue did not want to go on camera but told KPIX he was armed and ready when intruders showed up.

He was in a back office just before 7 a.m. Sunday when an alarm went off.

He armed himself with a gun and scared off two suspects who had entered through a front window.

"Last week this happened so somebody broke his window and he was expecting them to come back," said longtime customer Daniel Avina. "He was ready like a good Oakland resident should be."

U & I Liquor on Telegraph Avenue
U & I Liquor on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland.  KPIX

The manager of the family-run business said he chased the two would-be robbers outside. That's when they dropped their keys to the getaway car in the street and took off running. The manager said he came within five feet of the suspects but chose not to fire his weapon.

Fearing that there may be more suspects inside the store, he pointed the weapon at his shop. He said that, at one point, he waved with his gun for help at a passing CHP car. He said he was detained in handcuffs in the cruiser and later passed on to the Oakland police department and released after an hour.

Workers were seen boarding up windows and cleaning up broken glass Sunday evening.

Oakland police said in statement to KPIX:

The OPD Communications Division received multiple reports of an individual armed with a firearm standing in the street in the 4800 block of Telegraph Avenue. When officers arrived, they safely detained the armed individual and later learned that he was the owner of a business at the scene.

The owner was inside the business and observed individuals breaking in and taking items, so he armed himself causing the suspects to run away from the area prior to OPD arrival.

"I think they should have done a little bit more talking to, when you know in that situation, he's a Temescal staple,"  Avina said, speaking of the manager. "He's been here for so long and been very good with the community and people that come into the shop know that."

Longtime residents say the manager is hardworking and caring.

"His personality is like that -- he's sort of like a strong-willed individual. He's here pretty much morning and night, morning and night," added Travis Vincej of Oakland.

The area is made up of small businesses and eateries. Vincej said robberies are not uncommon.

"I feel like the safety has been breaking down just like everywhere throughout Oakland," Vincej said. "I mean it's just kind of like -- post-COVID -- kind of a free-for-all."

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