Burglars targeting businesses along Oakland's Piedmont Avenue

At Happy Heart, a crystal and mineral shop on Oakland's Piedmont Avenue, co-owners George Lee and Irene Auyoung kept busy picking up shattered glass and pieces of jade, remnants left behind during a predawn burglary.

"They come over to the store and then take some jade, put it in their pocket, and then over here they come over here, take all the bangles," Lee said.

Pointing to pieces of shards of green jade in a box, Auyoung said, "These are only the pieces that we can find and pick it up."

Several young men broke in around 11:40 p.m. Sunday, apparently bent on one thing: expensive Burmese jade. They used crowbars to force open the front door and smash display cases.

Surveillance video shows a man pointing a gun as he walks through the empty shop, apparently spooked by music that was playing in the background.

They escaped with mostly jade worth $100,000. 

 Lee said Oakland police arrived quickly, but the burglars escaped because of the department's pursuit policy, which bars chasing those suspected of property crimes.

"They say when they go to the car, they run away, and they cannot chase them," Lee said.

Other businesses along busy Piedmont Avenue have also been victims of burglary.

At Thai Taste Kitchen next door to Happy Heart, the manager believes the same burglars broke into his business Sunday night. But because the restaurant doesn't keep cash in the register, the intruders left empty-handed. But the restaurant was still forced to deal with the damage

"No money. Just broke the window. They not take anything like iPad or something," said manager Paul Rattana.

At Bamboo Chinese restaurant a block away, owner Shirleen Auyoung, Irene Auyoung's daughter said burglars broke in last month in the eatery's sunroom.

SEE ALSO: Former Oakland police chief 'likely' to appeal his firing

"They broke open the air vent and jumped in. So they jumped onto the refrigerator and then jumped onto the back hallway," she said.

"I don't want to say that I have to operate in fear, because I don't want to have those feelings, but we do have to be extra cautious," she said.