Cars vandalized, but lot owner is angry with Oakland police response

A used car lot owner in East Oakland tells KTVU his business has been targeted repeatedly by criminals. They've stolen from him and vandalized cars.

Abdul Alatuali, owner of Mission Bay Auto Sales says at 6:30 Thursday morning, surveillance video shows a man vandalizing five cars on his lot on International Boulevard with spray paint.

He's angry and frustrated by the response from Oakland police.

Alatuali estimates the damage at more than $11,000.

He called 911 to report the crime and was told by the dispatcher that he needs to file an online police report.

"No, I don't go online. Why I'm paying taxes-for what? " says Alatuali.

He says he made the discovery Friday afternoon and called 911, but that he didn't hear back until Oakland police left this voice mail message at 4:26 Friday morning.

It said, "We have an officer en route to International to take a report. If you're available, he'll be there in 10 minutes."

"I'm asleep. That's sweet sleep that time, 4 o'clock," says Alatuali.

He first spoke with KTVU in April 2019. Back then, he had  surveillance video of a thief stealing a truck from his lot and knocking down a fence. The suspect was then seen burglarizing an appliance store next door and using the stolen truck to get away.

For that incident, Alatuali also said a 911 dispatcher told him to file an online police report and that officers did not respond for 15 hours.

"Every time we call you with some problem, you said go online," says Alatuali of police dispatch.

"Staffing levels are fairly low," says Sgt. Michael Valle.

He says officers respond to as many as 3,000 calls a day.  Police say citizens do not have to file a report online, that officers will respond to property crimes.  But police can not say how long it will take, that they have to prioritize.

"With some of the violent crimes we get daily, takes our officers away from responding to property crimes," says Sgt. Valle. 

Alatuali says police need to do better.

"Every time they give you some reason. We busy. We have shooting somewhere," says the car lot owner," That's not public service 'cause I'm a citizen." 

Alatuali says he'd like Oakland to hire more police officers who live in Oakland so they are invested in the community. 

In the meantime, he says he's considering moving out of state.