Oakland plumbing business robbed twice at gunpoint

A small business owner in Oakland is concerned for his workers' safety after they were robbed at gunpoint twice in recent weeks.

Each time, it happened while crews were working at a job site.

The most recent incident happened Tuesday morning.

The surveillance video showed the armed robbery.

Two thieves walked up to a plumbing crew working in Oakland's Laurel District around 9:15 a.m. 

"It's hurtful, traumatizing," said Ygnacio Becerra, owner of Oakland Rooter & Plumbing.

"Twice in a matter of three weeks.  But this year, we've had three vans stolen, thousands of dollars of equipment stolen from us," said Becerra.

This time, one thief grabbed plumbing equipment and ran  to the getaway car.

And shortly after, a thief opened one of the work vans and stole tools.

"It happened pretty fast. It happened pretty quick," said Jose, one of the three workers on site, who asked KTVU not to show his face. 

He said two thieves walked up to him in the driveway and the one armed with a gun approached him.

"He said don't say nothing. And don't do nothing or I will kill you right now. I just got scared," said Jose.

He said the thieves wore face masks, black hoodies and black jean.

He added that the thief with the gun spoke English with a Central American accent and he wore black and red Nike tennis shoes.

"Last night when I got home, I could still see his face," Jose said he could identify the thief even though he wore a mask.

The robbery took place in the driveway of Gilbert Chin, who is a client of Oakland Rooter & Plumbing. 

The plumbing technicians were there to repair a sewage line. 

Chin was inside his home at the time of the robbery but his surveillance camera captured what happened.

"I've been here for 31 years. I'm very comfortable here. We've got to do something about the crime," said Chin.

Becerra showed the expensive sewer camera system that was stolen. 

He said this equipment alone costs $20,000. 

He estimated that the loss from the armed robberies and stolen vans add up to $100,000.

"Someone's going to get hurt. Someone's going to get killed, either us as field techs or the thieves," said Becerra.

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