Nationally known luxury brand retailers have been the prime targets of the mob-style burglaries that have been front and center in the news this week. But the fact is those same types of brazen crimes have also happened to some small shops. The difference between it happening to a luxury brand is that it has the potential to wipe a small business off the map.
The boutique clothing and shoe store Prime 356 near 14th and Webster in Oakland is now desperate for donations after the store was cleaned out by a group of around 30 thieves one night earlier this week. They can be seen on surveillance video funneling in and out of the store. The video was retweeted by Oakland Police who are now trying to track down the suspects. Most of the store’s inventory is gone and there are thousands of dollars in damage to the security gates, front door, windows, and store displays.
“These people have essentially put us out of business, for the time being, This is the second time our store has been broken into and robbed and we are struggling to continue operating as a business,” it says on the store’s Gofundme page. What makes matters worse, it's the second time the store has been hit by thieves in the past month. “After the first unfortunate incident, we did what we could to increase security and changed our opening and closing procedures to include extra precautions to avoid any further violence. It is disheartening, that in spite of our efforts this happened again a mere month later,” the owners say.
That case comes as police across the Bay Area look for other bandits who are striking in groups and appear to be focusing on high-end retail shops. Hoodline reported the theft of more than $40,000 dollars in merchandise from the Lulelemon store at Santana Row on Sunday. An hour earlier, Sam’s Jewelry in the Southland Mall in Hayward was robbed of thousands of dollars in items. The night before, what appears to be an organized group of thieves used their cars to converge near the entrance of Nordstrom in Walnut Creek and ransack the store. Louis Vuitton in San Francisco’s Union Square was also hit by a mob on Friday but as many as nine suspects have been arrested.
The terrorizing crimes are putting police and stores on edge so much that some of the stores, as reported by KRON4, are closing early during what is traditionally one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. If you are looking to shop this year at brick-and-mortar stores this year check the Facebook pages of the stores to make sure you know the hours.