Oakland Police warns about armed robberies at ATMs

Oakland police are warning residents about an upward trend in armed robberies. They said there have been five at ATMs in recent weeks.

KTVU spoke with a man who was robbed at gunpoint Friday afternoon right outside a bank in the busy Lakeshore District.

Will Rodriguez said he was just steps outside the Bank of the West on Lakeshore Ave. near Mandana Blvd.  

It happened just before 3:30 p.m.

Rodriguez said the thieves were in a sedan parked along the curb just outside the bank. He suspected they made their move when they saw he was about to walk into the bank.  

"I'm just kind of shaky, still kind of stressed out," said Rodriguez.

"They came up behind me and put an arm around my neck and put a gun to the back of my head and were like ‘give me the bag, give me the bag’," Rodriguez said he was about to go inside the bank to make a deposit for his employer when the thieves confronted him.  

According to Rodriguez, another man got out of the car with an assault rifle. Rodriguez gave the thieves the money. 

He said they were sitting in a silver Mercedes 4-door sedan with all blacked-out windows.  

When asked why the thieves may have targeted him, Rodriguez replied,"I think they just saw the black deposit bag because normally I keep it tucked in for safety. But as I got to right here, I pulled it out so I can walk into the bank with it."  

OPD said since mid-February, there have been five armed robberies at ATMs and that the trend appears to be continuing. 

In each robbery, someone using an ATM was approached by one or more thieves and robbed at gunpoint.

"It's dangerous times right now. People are getting robbed.  There are a lot of people who have and a lot of people who have not.  The have-nots are trying to get theirs," said Cathy King, an ATM customer.

Police said on Tuesday at 2:30 in the afternoon, a woman had just finished her transaction at an ATM on the 3400 block of Fruitvale Ave. when two armed thieves approached and robbed her. They left the scene in a waiting vehicle.  

Police said this was the third such robbery in the area in recent weeks.

"It's scary. It definitely puts you on edge around banks and stuff.  You really try to be as careful as possible," said ATM customer Cameron Metzger.  

Rodriguez said there were at least three people involved in his incident: two approached him and one waited in the Mercedes. 

He said they wore all-black clothing and face coverings. 

He estimated they got away with about $1000.

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