Burglars ram truck into Oakland Chinatown pharmacy

Two Oakland Chinatown pharmacies were invaded by burglars just days apart, with a group using a rental truck to plow their way inside one of them.

Surveillance video shows a U-Haul truck pulling up to New Oakland Pharmacy in the city's Chinatown neighborhood at about 3:20 a.m. Thursday.

The driver then repeatedly backs into the business near 9th and Webster streets, busting through its gates.

"Six people made a beeline into the pharmacy," said owner Kam Tam.

Another view from a camera inside the store shows the truck almost completely in the lobby after the fourth ramming, before it goes back out.

"These burglars, they are very, very brazen," said Tam, who has owned the pharmacy for decades. It caters to senior citizens in Chinatown as well as the homeless.

Tam spent much of the morning cleaning up the mess and surveying the damage left behind when the truck plowed right through thick bars, two sets of locks, and a steel frame.

"A one-ton U-Haul truck ramming your store. I don’t think anything can prevent them from coming in," Tam said.

Tam is also reeling from another break-in at another pharmacy he owns just a half block away at Pacific Renaissance Plaza.

At about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, eight people used a crowbar to force their way into the business, also called New Oakland Pharmacy. 

But they were also armed.

"I think they really want to show that they have a gun, because they passed it among themselves," Tam said.

In both cases, the burglars didn't get away with much - just a few bottles of cough syrup containing Promethazine and codeine, which can be abused.

But their motive suggests they meant business.

"They come well-prepared, because we know that they’re professionals. They all wear gloves. And also the way they park their car. You cannot see their license plate," Tam said.

Pharmacies across Oakland and throughout the Bay Area have been hit by caravans of thieves. In November, a large group of burglars invaded Wellspring Pharmacy on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland.