‘What’s next? Are they going to bring a crane?’ Criminals target Oakland cannabis business using a forklift

Oakland police are investigating three separate crimes against cannabis businesses in West Oakland. The businesses were targeted overnight and one case involves the use of a forklift.

Surveillance video obtained by KTVU shows an individual walking past a cannabis microbusiness on Union Street. The individual looks down, posing as a lookout, and then a forklift turns onto the sidewalk to break in. Another individual wearing a blue jacket is seen crawling under the gate and then crawling back out.

"I had no idea they would be so aggressive," said business manager Chris Castle.

Since February, the business has dealt with a number of attempted break-ins.

A forklift was used to break into an Oakland cannabis business. 

"We’ve taken a lot of preventive measures. We even have an armed guard," he said.

But that didn’t stop the individuals from driving a forklift down and into the building around 1 a.m.

"I talked to security experts who been doing this for 20 to 30 years, and even they’ve never seen anything like this, so this came out of left field. Where did they even get the equipment from?"

The Union Street location wasn’t the only business hit.

A cannabis store in the 4400 block of Telegraph Avenue was also targeted around 3:30 a.m. 

 According to a 911 call, four individuals were able to gain access to the store while one person acted as a lookout.  It’s unclear if anything was stolen. The business declined to comment but did file a police report.

Oakland police later responded to an attempted break-in of a dispensary at 19th and Broadway. The suspects there also used a crowbar but where unable to gain access. 

It’s unclear if those two crimes are related.

Chris Castle said the Bay Area cannabis industry is being targeted and the amount of crime against them is alarming

"I feel for everyone out there," he said. "These incidents could put us out of business. With the amount of taxes we pay along with the precautions we’re taking, we just need more help."

Castle said while he’s grateful for Tuesday’s response from police he’s still worried about the next attempted break-in.

"What’s next?" he asked. "These criminals don’t care. Are they going to bring a crane or some other piece of equipment? I have no idea!"

Oakland police are investigating all three incidents. Anyone with information is asked to give the department a call. Tips can remain anonymous.

Dave Detling is a freelance reporter with KTVU Fox 2 News. You can follow him on twitter at @DaveKTVU or send him an email at dave.detling@fox.com

A forklift was used to break into an Oakland cannabis business. 

A forklift was used to break into an Oakland cannabis business. 

A forklift was used to break into an Oakland cannabis business.