All shops at strip mall in Oakland's Little Saigon burglarized
OAKLAND, Calif. - Merchants at a strip mall in Oakland's Little Saigon neighborhood were up in arms Monday after burglars hit the entire complex before dawn, breaking in through roofs and popping front-door locks.
International Plaza at 9th and International has seen its share of crime, but never anything like this.
"All seven stores here got burglarized in a span of like less than two hours," said Simon Liu, owner of V & J Fusion, a Vietnamese restaurant.
The first break-in was reported at about 4:30 a.m. Monday. Several stores were broken into via the roof. Surveillance video shows one intruder entering the Coin Laundromat from the ceiling. He didn't seem to care that he set off an alarm.
"The robbers came down through the roof. There's a hole in my hallway right now," Liu said of his restaurant.
Although the intruders only stole some change, "the damage is more than the money that they took," Liu said.
"It's just unexpected. Shock, because whoever expects this to happen, you know?" Liu said.
The burglars popped the locks of four other businesses.
"They break the vending machine and take the bills and coins in there," said the owner of a water business.
Some merchants wondered why it took Oakland police so long to respond. Officers and a civilian technician did spend hours after the fact, gathering statements and surveillance video.
A witness told KTVU she called police at about 4:30 a.m. But Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said dispatchers weren't notified until 6:20 a.m. By then, the burglars were gone, after making multiple trips from the businesses to their vehicles.
"I'm very angry," said Nolan Wong, who owns the laundromat where the burglars came down through the roof and stole from his change machine.
"This is continuing every single week, you know? We never get a break. It's just constant," Wong said. His laundromat was the same business where an Asian couple was robbed in an incident also caught on video.
Another surveillance video from early Monday shows the burglars in no apparent hurry during their visit, sauntering outside the strip mall. At one point, one man even goes back and gives a homeless man some spare change.
Jimmy Ngo, who owns a nail shop that was burglarized, had this message for Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf: "Mayor, please do something because this area is hit so often…we are struggling here."