Caught on camera: thieves ram car into two East Bay businesses

An East Bay husband and wife who own a small business were in shock after a daring break-in.

The suspects broke into Gourmet Cellar on Washington Avenue in San Leandro about 3:45 on Thursday morning.

Less than one hour later, police said the same group tried to break into 4Twenty Market, a cannabis dispensary, on Enterprise Way, not far from the Oakland Coliseum.

The owners of both businesses said they're frustrated. They said in each incident, the suspects got away before police arrived. The shop owners said even when thieves are caught, those responsible often face little or no consequence.  

"No business is safe," said Rinki Singh. She shared surveillance video that showed the front door of Gourmet Cellar, a liquor store,  in San Leandro, falling apart after a car backed into it.

Two suspects got out.   One jumped over the counter. The other intruder removed the broken door.

Shortly after, the silver Lexus was backed all the way into the store. The driver rammed the car repeatedly at the atm and eventually knocked it to the ground. 

"It's a shock even though you know it's going around. You always think it's not going to happen to you," said Singh. She and her husband Tony own the store.  

They said the thieves were unable to break into the ATM, or remove it from the store before police arrived. The couple said the thieves stole cigarettes and left a trail of damage.

The Singhs had the ATM removed, in hopes that it will prevent thieves from targeting their store again.

"It's pretty sad to have a nice store in the community, a mom-and-pop store, that is the backbone of America," said Tony.  

San Leandro police said the same silver Lexus was found at the scene of a similar burglary attempt at 4Twenty Market, a cannabis dispensary in east Oakland near the Coliseum, soon after the break-in at the liquor store.

"This time, it happened about 4 in the morning," said the dispensary owner, who asked us not to reveal his identity. He gave surveillance videos to KTVU that appeared to show the same car backing into the front fence and then the front entrance of the dispensary.  

Police said it's unclear if the vehicle was stolen. The owner said  the suspects caused extensive damage, estimated to be up to $100,000.

But the thieves were unable to get inside the store. The owner described his reaction to the attempted burglary as being "tired" and he wanted something to be done about it.

"Oakland Police showed up quickly. If they had more time, they probably would have gotten inside and caused even more damage," the owner said this was the second time thieves have tried to break in by ramming a vehicle into his dispensary since he opened last August.

He said this time,  there were a total of 3 cars that showed up in front of his shop that carried up to ten people who were part of the break-in.

"I'm not going to allow these idiots to close us down. Just like when they broke in the day we had our grand opening, I was open by that afternoon.
I'm not going to let them stop us now," said the owner.  

As for the couple who owns the liquor store in San Leandro,  they said they moved to the current location thinking it was safer than their previous site in the downtown area. Now, they are hoping for more police patrols. 

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @AmberKTVU.