By LEZLA GOODEN
OAKLAND, California (KPIX) — A West Oakland gas station was left an absolute mess after a wild burglary where thieves used a backhoe to tear into the storefront.
The ampm gas station, off of 889 W Grand Ave., is the latest Oakland business targeted by smash-and-grab robbers. Workers said that a group of people used a backhoe to break into the store nearly killing one of them and stole money from their ATM machine.
Brandon Barlow was born and raised in Oakland and goes to that gas station pretty often.
“Oakland is doing way too much. It’s a problem out here, and it’s driving businesses away,” said Barlow. “This is stuff I haven’t seen since the 90s.”
He said hearing about a group of people using a backhoe to break the wall to steal cash from the ATM was disturbing.
“It’s not shocking in Oakland,” said Barlow. “I have seen worse with the shootings, and all this materialistic stuff can be replaced. Lives can’t, so I rather see this than someone lying in the street.”
According to Oakland Police the robbery happened on Monday at 2:15 a.m., and police found broken glass and the vehicle still partially through the front window.
The burglars had left taking with them an unknown amount of cash from the ATM.
The gas station is still currently open for business.
“Yeah, I was debating on going to Chevron down the street, but I said no this is my home, so I am safe,” Barlow said.
The burglary is what many in the community are calling a trend among Oakland gas stations. On Oct. 31, KPIX spoke with the Chevron station off of Redwood Road.
They had been hit twice in one week, with damages totaling $20,000. The owners said they no longer provide an ATM in their store due to past thefts.
KPIX reached out to the mayor’s office about what is being done about this ongoing problem. She was not available for an interview but in an email stated the following.
“Mayor Thao is focused on implementing a comprehensive approach to community safety which supports a robust police department, strengthens violence prevention programs, and leverages technology.
During Mayor Thao’s first ten months in office, she laid the groundwork for her approach and has taken action to make Oakland safer by:
Increasing the number of police officers on the street by:
• Investing in more police academy classes
• Restoring police foot patrols citywide
• Partnering with the state to bring California Highway Patrol officers into Oakland to help address traffic safety in our busiest corridors.
Oakland has more police officers on the street than any time in the past 2 years.
Oakland is also strengthening violence prevention initiatives by placing violence interrupters and peer counselors in schools and neighborhoods throughout Oakland to engage and intervene before violence occurs.
Finally, Oakland is leveraging technology to disrupt and build cases against the organized criminal networks that are causing much of the crime we are experiencing throughout the region. Last month, the Oakland City Council approved Mayor Thao’s plan to install 300 automated license plate readers throughout Oakland to collect evidence more quickly, pinpoint leads and identify vehicles, even those with stolen plates or no plates.”
KPIX is still waiting to hear back from councilmember Carroll Fife. Meanwhile, Barlow thinks the community can help too.
“I think the community needs to rally against all these folks and start speaking up,” said Barlow. “I know snitches get stitches but, like, we have to protect these businesses. What are we going to have? We are losing businesses left and right.”
OPD said it is still an open investigation and they need the community’s help and is asking anyone with information to please call their burglary unit at 510-238-3951.
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