A memo seems to have gone out to would-be looters that this week was going to be a good time to hit some stores in the East Bay. But unlike some looting and vandalism that occurred around the time of weeks-long unrest around the country over the killing of George Floyd in late May, this week's activities seem to be just wanton smash-and-grabs with no protests attached. But sure, we're all a bit out of sorts and nihilistic about the election right now.
Things started with a looting caravan that smashed windows and ransacked a Starbucks in the Fruitvale on Tuesday night. The incident at the Fruitvale Station shopping center was one of several incidents in a chaotic Election Night in Oakland in which at least seven people were shot, including one burglary suspect at marijuana grow in East Oakland who was shot by police.
As the Mercury News reports, Oakland police were chasing many reports of looting around the city on Tuesday — and at one point they found a group of 50 people attempting to break into a building in West Oakland.
On Wednesday night, a caravan of looters descended on a CVS store in Emeryville, and similarly ransacked the place, with most of the suspects fleeing the scene. Police arrested one suspect who did not manage to flee, as KPIX reports, and a loaded handgun was found on his person. He was arrested on burglary and gun possession charges.
The CVS incident happened during business hours around 8:20 p.m., and employees were in the store as the group arrived. According to Emeryville police "a large group of subjects [was] stealing pharmaceuticals. Officers arrived on scene and the group of subjects fled the scene in multiple vehicles."
Also on Wednesday night, Alameda County Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene of a Big 5 store in San Lorenzo where a group of 20 attempted looters were allegedly trying to break in and get to the gun section.
As ABC 7 reports, "weapons and ammunition [were] scattered across the ground right outside the store," and across the street, deputies said they saw around 50 people running out of a Walmart store as well.
Another group of looters hit the Exclusive Sneaker shop at 4926 McBryde Avenue in Richmond last night, scattering shoe boxes across the store and making off with merchandise. As KPIX reports, police chased one suspect across the Bay Bridge to 25th and Potrero in SF where he was arrested with a trunk full of sneaker boxes.
Police said the recovered shoes would be returned to the store, and the suspect has not been named. It's unclear if the group involved in that incident hit other businesses as well.
Speaking to the Mercury News on Wednesday, East Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid said, "I just think it’s crazy. People will sit and they’ll make all different kinds of excuses for the behavior of young men and women. I am not going to make any excuses for their behavior because I don’t understand it."