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Shops in Oakland public market hit by burglars


OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – Frustration is mounting for small business owners in Oakland’s Fruitvale District after several shops in the public market were burglarized this week. Shop owners say there have been several of these types of crimes over the past few years and they need help keeping the market safe and secure. 

One shop owner said he and other merchants are all hardworking people and do not deserve to be shaken up like this. He says the city needs to make investments into protecting the Fruitvale District or risk losing these important places in the neighborhood.

At least four small businesses in the market have been hit by burglars this week. Oakland police say two unknown intruders ransacked offices and stole cash and computers. A bakery, jewelry store, ice cream shop and electronics repair service were hit.

“It’s super frustrating,” said Dominic Prado, who owns Tacos El Ultimo Baile. “Just to see these folks working every day, the frustration that they have, and to have something like this happen, it’s really disheartening.”

Prado’s restaurant was spared, but the public market is a tight-knit community and crimes like these are a shared pain.

“They deserve better. We deserve better. Many of these business owners have been there for over 25 years,” said Caheri Gutierrez with the nonprofit Unity Council.

Unity Council, which owns the public market, says despite investing more than a million dollars in security, it has not been enough.

“We’re asking for local, regional and federal support so that we can be back whole,” Gutierrez said. 

Prado argues the Unity Council could also be doing more to help the public market’s merchants. He says the organization has failed to make good on improving safety after business owners asked for cameras and other measures. 

Both sides have clashed over safety at the market but they also agree that outside help is needed to protect these businesses. The support would also help preserve the neighborhood’s culture.

“I think the crime will always be here but I think the city needs to make a sizable commitment to investing in this neighborhood,” Prado said.

Oakland police say they have not made any arrests in Tuesday morning’s burglaries. They’re asking anyone with any information to give them a call.

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