Thieves break into multiple businesses during overnight hours in Oakland Chinatown and commercial areas
Oakland - Restaurants, beauty salons, coffee shops and convenience stores in various parts of Oakland were all targeted by thieves in the overnight hours Thursday.
Surveillance videos show caravans of thieves pulling up in vehicles, using tools and taking their time breaking into shops. Merchants said they're concerned for their safety and livelihood.
"Usually we have the cash over here," said Jessica Liu, an employee with Lounge Chinatown as she pointed to the cash register that was broken into and tossed to the ground.
This business is one of seven that the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce said were burglarized starting about 3:30am Thursday.
"I'm more about being scared or sad," said Liu.
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Surveillance videos showed two cars parking on 8th street, numerous people getting out and breaking into several businesses at the same time.
The crew that broke into Lounge Chinatown spent almost 11 minutes breaking the locks. The restaurant opened just three months ago with the hope of revitalizing this area.
"For us to be hit like this and see some of our neighboring businesses hit as well, it is absolutely appalling and gut-wrenching" said Darlene Wong with Lounge Chinatown.
Police said since early Tuesday morning, there has been a rash of commercial burglaries across the city in business districts.
So far, they've counted more than a dozen, not including the seven in Chinatown KTVU learned about where merchants have not yet filed a police report. The break-ins have taken place between the hours of 11p.m. to 4a.m.
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"We do believe there may be a particular group that may be responsible for several of them, but not all of them, so we have multiple crews that are doing these robberies," said Captain David Elzey.
In the Fruitvale district, merchants said Otaez Mexican Restaurant is among four businesses on International Boulevard burglarized. Surveillance video showed a thief entering with a gun drawn and he was joined by three other people.
"Frustrated, sad, mad. Sounds weird but kind of getting used to it here in Oakland," said the restaurant owner's son who asked KTVU not to identify him.
He said thieves burglarized the adjacent check cashing business by shattering a glass door.
Burglars also hit a soccer equipment store and boot shop nearby.
Back in Oakland Chinatown, businesses are making repairs.
Shopper Eva Hom said she fears crime will drive merchants out of business,
"To be born and raised in this city, to see this is absolutely horrible," said Hom. "Something needs to be done."
Police said they're stepping up patrols in business districts. The Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce plans to hold a community meeting with police Friday at 10 a.m.
A GoFundMe was created to support some of the businesses that were vandalized.
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 @Amber KTVU