New downtown Oakland business burglarized before its grand opening

A new business in downtown Oakland was set to open its doors this weekend. But the owner said he's been forced to postpone the grand opening.

He said thieves broke in and stole 75 percent of his inventory.

The owner said he has forty years of experience in the men's clothing retail business.

He said this is the first time he's running his own store.

He shared surveillance videos of the break-in and said they're painful for him to watch.

Surveillance videos showed two thieves break through a gate early Monday morning around 1:45 p.m. 

One of them used a hammer to smash the glass door to a commercial building with multiple tenants.

The pair crawl through the bottom of the door and head straight to the back door of The Suit Lounge, a new men's clothing store in Downtown Oakland that has yet to open its doors to the public.

"I'm numb. A lot of sweat equity, a lot of money invested," owner Kevin Greene said he used his savings to open the store, but thieves stole most of his inventory.

"I had suits lined up here and these were full of jeans, sweaters and sweatsuits," said Greene as he pointed to an empty rack and empty bins. 

Signs of forced entry into Green's store is a painful reminder of the loss.

The thieves spent about ten minutes removing armloads of items from the store, making multiple trips.

Green estimated they stole an estimated $45,000 of merchandise.

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"I feel violated someone who breaks into your home or car. It's not a good feeling," said Greene. 

But he refused to allow the thieves to rob him of his lifelong dream of owning a business that will make a difference in Oakland.

"I'm two blocks from City Hall. I shouldn't be afraid to open a business two blocks from City Hall," said Greene.

He said he held a soft opening for family and friends earlier this month.

He had planned to hold the grand opening this weekend which is now being postponed. 

"I can't tell you how many people tried to talk me into not opening up in Oakland, but it's something I felt in my spirit to do," Green said the business is part of his plan to start a foundation to mentor young men and also help them dress for success.

"Dressing is an art. And a lot of men don't know. They come in for guidance," said Greene. 

He said he hadn't gotten around to buying insurance, so he'll have to find a way to cover the loss.  

"I'm not a quitter. I'm going to succeed. I'm going to stay open, and I'll have top security," said Greene. 

He hoped to hold the grand opening March 1. 

Greene said he wants to organize a community event with business owners and neighbors to find solutions to improve safety in Downtown Oakland.

 A friend has set up a Gofundme to help Greene.

Amber Lee is a reporter with ktvu. Email Amber at amber.Lee@fox.Com or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on facebook @amberktvu,  instagram @amberktvu  or twitter @amberktvu