Another person was violently robbed of their laptop in Oakland on Friday, and this time the victim was shot in the course of the robbery.
A 21-year-old man was reportedly found shot in the hip in a bus shelter at Adeline and 61st Street in North Oakland, having just been robbed of his laptop on Friday night. According to a neighbor who spoke to ABC 7, the man was shouting, "Somebody help me! I don't want to die!"
As NBC Bay Area reports, that neighbor, Brian Veivia, is a former paramedic and ran to the victim's aid. Veivia says the man had "a dime- or a nickel-sized wound right on his hip."
Veivia told reporters that the victim had been on his laptop in the bus shelter when he was approached by a suspect in a mask. The suspect then demanded the laptop, and when the victim refused, the suspect shot him in the hip and made off with the computer.
The victim, who has has not been publicly identified, is recovering in the hospital in stable condition, per ABC 7.
Veivia tells NBC Bay Area that there has been a spate of recent shootings and stabbings in his neighborhood that is cause for concern. "You would hate to think what your first reaction is [if you were robbed like this.] You may not even think at the time and you grab it and refuse to give it up. And in that moment it could cost you your life."
The black market for stolen laptops is, unfortunately, booming, and that has fueled crimes like this one and the one on New Year's Eve that ended with the tragic death of 34-year-old Shuo Zeng in Oakland's Montclair neighborhood. Zeng died after trying to chase after two suspects who stole the laptop he was working on at a Starbucks, and then was either run over by their vehicle or collided with a parked vehicle as they drove off.
As the Vallejo Times-Herald reports, laptops are a top target of auto burglaries in the Bay Area, in part because they are easy ways for thieves to make a quick buck.
Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Marisa McKeown tells the paper, "Unfortunately, it’s so easy to take a laptop, and so easy to flip it. They can get a couple hundred dollars cash for each."
UC Berkeley has warned its students to be wary of working on their computers at outdoor cafes, and has gone so far as to station undercover campus police officers at these cafes to thwart laptop thefts.
The size of the fencing operations connected to these thefts can be staggering. In February 2018, Bay Area law enforcement arrested nine people in multiple local jurisdictions in connection with a laptop and electronics fencing ring responsible for at least 2,000 stolen items worth upwards of $2 million. The goods were being fenced and quickly resold in Vietnam.