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Oakland business tries to stay open despite being hit by thieves repeatedly

A clothing store and event place in Oakland is struggling to keep its door open after being repeatedly hit by thieves.

The business owner said he’s committed to staying in Oakland, but admits that’s getting harder to do.

“It’s discouraging, to the point of a gut punch. Do I even want to continue to do this? If you know the pattern that is going to continue to happen?” said Osi Umunna, the owner of streetwear store and event space, inner Desires Oakland.

He was left with busted locks and broken doors after being hit by thieves for the eighth time.

“They took everything except for this one rack of clothing right here,” said Umunna.       

In fact, multiple break-ins are one of the reasons he moved his store from 17th Street to Grand Avenue last year.

One of those break-ins cost him $100,000 and none of that was covered by insurance. 

Then, early Sunday morning, his store on Gand Avenue was targeted for the first time.  

Witnesses said multiple people filled two cars full of clothing from the store.  

Umunna was alerted by his security system and arrived as the cars were pulling off. 

In less than 10 minutes, the thieves stole more than $60,000 in merchandise.

“The sad part is the victims are small businesses and people who are trying to put resources back in the community. It’s like a treadmill you keep running and running and never get anywhere,” said the owner.

With insurance premiums at $1,500 a month, he said repeated break-ins are making it impossible to survive and don’t cover all the costs.    

Now he is calling on the community’s help him stay open via a GoFundMe page.  

“For me it’s like, how do we get more patrols or more people to take care of the businesses that provide for people who work?” said Umunna.

While the shelves are almost bare right now,  Ummuna said his commitment to building up the community remains. His goal is to bring positivity to the city through artist events and pop-ups. 

“For people that look like me, there is not always a platform for them. Some things have to be so refined to get into certain doors. So, we kind of give people with a lower access level to the finer things,” he said.

As he works to recover, he remains hopeful Oakland can do the same.

“It takes a village, it takes all of us,” he said.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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