Bay Area/ Oakland/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 13, 2024
Eight Armed Assailants Stage Daylight Robbery at Oakland Jewelry Store in ChinatownSource: Google Street View

Eight armed assailants executed a daylight smash-and-grab heist at the Phuong Jewelry Store in Oakland's Chinatown, clearing out nearly a lifetime's worth of valuables. In a video that captured the brazen robbery, the suspects can be seen smashing display cases and snatching jewelry as the store's frightened co-owner, Diane Trinh, sought cover. Her husband, armed and determined, managed to intervene, causing the thieves to flee the scene, as reported by ABC7 News.

Described as the worst attack in its over 40-year history, the family-operated business was overwhelmed by the onslaught, with the Trinh family facing a harsh reality without business insurance, which had recently lapsed due to skyrocketing premiums. "We've been robbed a few times before but not at this level of brazen magnitude. Eight individuals and two getaway cars and guns drawn," Tony Trinh, the co-owner's son, told ABC7 News

In a statement obtained by NBC Bay Area, Tony Trinh remarked on the precision of the criminals' strike as they "knew exactly what they wanted." The heist recalled a painful history for the Trinh family, as a previous break-in during the 1990s resulted in the fatal shooting of Diane's father. Despite the tragic echoes of the past and the heavy financial loss, the resolve of the Trinh family appears unwavering, with Tony Trinh asserting their commitment to the Chinatown community and their intention to remain in business against the odds. "I think we need to be strong," he said, emphasizing the outpouring of support they have received from the community.

The ordeal underscores a broader struggle for businesses in the Chinatown area, many of which grapple with high insurance costs and eligibility issues. Nevertheless, the community's response has been immediate and solid. The Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council launched a GoFundMe campaign to aid in the Trinh family's recovery efforts. "The chaos is bringing back trauma for the family," Diane Trinh revealed in an NBC Bay Area interview, yet their spirit remains undeterred. Customer Joey Golaw highlighted the store's importance to the local community, "Hopefully they stay," he said, recognizing the potential loss should the store close.

Oakland Police are pursuing the investigation of the robbery and urge anyone with information to step forward as the search for the suspects continues. In the meantime, Tony Trinh and the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council remain optimistic about making strides in community safety and resilience. "We can't let our fear overcome! The only way to reduce crime is to have more traffic, events, people to get more resources. A strong Oakland Chinatown is strong for every community in Oakland," Tony told ABC7 News.