In a brazen robbery, dubbed the Oakland Heist, on the morning of November 6, a group of thieves utilized a backhoe and a pickup truck to break into an AMPM convenience store in the 800 block of West Grand Avenue, Oakland. Surveillance cameras captured the dramatic robbery, showing the backhoe crashing into a bulletproof glass window, creating chaos inside the store.
The footage depicts the backhoe operator swiftly scooping up an ATM machine, shattering the glass and causing the clerk to retreat from the demolition. Subsequently, the backhoe proceeded to dismantle the gas station’s ATM, while a would-be robber attempted to connect a chain to a white pickup truck for a getaway. However, the chain proved too short to secure the ATM, leading to a hasty retreat when police sirens approached.
Video footage of the incident went viral on social media, with some attributing the increase in violence to the “Defund the Police” movement from 2020. The unsuccessful heist left the store owner, Ali Abdulla, expressing concern for his safety and estimating damages of at least $70,000.
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While no lives were lost, Abdulla now believes that running a business in Oakland necessitates staying on-site and armed for security, as he questions the allocation of tax dollars for public safety by elected officials.
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The Oakland Police Department is actively pursuing the perpetrators, but concerns about the city’s police force’s adequacy persist. Despite a 14 percent decrease in the homicide rate, burglaries have surged by 41 percent, and robberies have risen by over 20 percent in 2023, according to the city’s police department. With 715 officers currently employed, Oakland ideally requires around 1,200 officers to manage its population effectively.