Florida family plans to pull son from Oakland college after car break-in

A family from Florida is sending a warning to out-of-town visitors coming to Oakland.

The family was dropping off their teen at college when they were "bipped" and lost important personal documents and thousands of dollars worth of belongings.

Rhomel Crossman, who just graduated from high school in Florida, was planning to attend Lincoln University in downtown Oakland.

Now, his family is planning on withdrawing his enrollment because they’re too traumatized to leave him in Oakland for school.

"In Oakland, California, you just gotta be careful," said Crossman’s mother, Nerissa Murray Watson. "Everything is totally gone."

She said her family flew into town on Saturday and rented a car with Thrifty to get around. They went to downtown Oakland to register Crossman at Lincoln University.

Around 6:15 p.m. they left their rental car parked a block away from the school on the corner of 15th and Franklin to pick up food at a nearby Jamaican restaurant.

They said when they returned to their car 15 minutes later, they found the windows of the white Nissan Rogue broken and five suitcases stolen.

Murray Watson said, "Three thousand dollars in a bag my husband put under the seat with three passports, social security cards, and my son’s high school diploma and birth certificate," were all stolen.

She said a witness told them they saw masked men driving in a car without a license plate in broad daylight, something people in Oakland know all too well.

"I didn’t know that these things happen in America so it’s really strange to me," said Murray Watson.

She said she called the police but was told to file a report in person at a police station.

"To me, it’s lawless because we even called the police three times and they said they can’t come," she said.

On top of all the important documents and belongings, the family said they lost a sleep apnea machine.

"Now, I start feeling my heart like it’s pounding in the morning instead of feeling rested," said Coren Leslie-Green, Crossman’s aunt who is on the trip.

Murray Watson said she has decided to pull Crossman out of Lincoln University.

"I have to bring back my son to Florida because it’s not safe here," she said.

Meanwhile, the city of Oakland has touted lower crime rates, reporting violent crime is down more than 30% from last year, and the most recent crime data says car burglary is down 60%.

KTVU reached out to Lincoln University but didn’t hear back in time for this report.

KTVU also reached out to other schools in the area. 

UC Berkeley was the only school to respond, saying they warn students not to leave belongings in cars and educate incoming students about best safety practices during orientation.