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Thieves Swarm East Bay Stores, Pharmacies, Dispensaries In Brazen Weekend Crime Spree

OAKLAND (KPIX) -- Mobs of thieves went on a weekend crime-spree, robbing department and jewelry stores, cannabis dispensaries and pharmacies. Dozens of businesses were hit.

David Massey was one of those who showed up to the Walgreens on High Street Monday, only to find the pharmacy closed after a robbery on Sunday.

"You know, they tell you to go over to Alameda, go down the street," says David Massey of Oakland. "Then all of them have to be verified, and here we are right before Thanksgiving."

Massey depends on his pharmacy.

"I've got cancer," he explains. "So I'm trying to get certain medications filled and they tell you to go to another Walgreens."

On Saturday night, it was the Wellspring Pharmacy on Piedmont Avenue, which was open Monday. Surveillance video, sped up by the pharmacy owners, shows the crowd that descended on the store over the weekend. The pharmacy was just one of the businesses hit by a mob of thieves.

"At least two dozen businesses were impacted," said Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong. "Roving caravans of vehicles, targeting cannabis operations, retail shops, pharmacies, throughout the city of
Oakland."

This is not the first time pharmacies have been targeted during outbreaks of retail theft, but it's a crime that can create serious hardship for those already struggling. Massey was coming straight from a doctor's appointment Monday.

"This is the third time that I know of that they have been broken into," Massey says. "It hurts us all. Especially the little guy that really needs it."

"This city had to deal with overwhelming violence in this community over the weekend and it's unacceptable," Armstrong said of the weekend. "It's acceptable for our residents, our visitors. Nobody should have to live through this."

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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