Brazen bandits attack up to 10 cars an hour near Oakland airport

It is a thieves’ paradise.

A shopping center just blocks from the bustling Oakland International Airport has become a hotspot for car thefts, with brazen bandits attacking up to 10 vehicles in an hour.

Oakland Airport Plaza, a shopping center on 98th Avenue that includes restaurants and a Chevron gas station, has become a hotspot for looters because it is a quiet area where travelers often stop before leaving the city to catch their flights. .

“They do it while people are still in the car,” airport worker Jihad told the San Francisco Standard, adding that he has witnessed up to 10 crashes and grabs in just one hour.

“Crazy,” he said.

Car thefts in the Bay Area have become so widespread that locals have a name for them: “Bipping and Boosting.”

At Oakland Airport Plaza, the robberies have become so bold that the mall has erected steel barriers to block one of the exits so thieves can’t make a quick escape.

Surveillance video shows a man sneaking up behind a rented Buick Envision SUV, opening the trunk and stealing a backpack.KTVU

“Since Monday and Thursday the police have not been there… there are all kinds of crimes,” plaza worker Antonio Patiño told television channel KPIX.

Brazen thieves have even stolen vehicles while the driver was still inside the vehicle.

Tyson Wrensch was inside his rental Buick truck parked in the plaza earlier this year when a man stole his backpack.

Surveillance footage shows the thief pull up in a Cadillac, sneak up behind the truck, open the trunk and steal the bag.

It all took a few seconds, and the bandits quickly escaped with Wrensch’s laptop and passport.

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“It’s one thing to go out and find your car broken into and be angry,” Wrensch told local Fox station KTVU. “It’s another thing to be in his car and get robbed. I mean, how can anyone feel safe?

Oakland Police Department officials acknowledge that the center has had many problems.

Signs throughout the mall warn drivers not to leave valuables in their vehicles. KTVU

“Unfortunately, the area in and around 98th Avenue and Bigge Street has historically seen car break-ins,” an OPD spokesperson told The San Francisco Standard.

“The Oakland Police Department continues to address car thefts throughout the city, with overtime details providing an increased presence in high-risk areas.”

Rental cars remain easy targets, as travelers leave their luggage and other belongings inside, assuming it would be safe while they quickly run to the gas station or one of the restaurants.

Signs are now posted throughout the plaza warning shoppers not to leave valuables unattended.

Hulya Yalcin said she stopped by the plaza to grab a coffee at Starbucks on her way to Oakland International Airport in June.

Brazen thieves have even stolen vehicles while the driver is still inside their car. San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

When Yalcin and his family arrived at the plaza parking lot, a man approached their truck.

He initially thought the man was trying to wash the windows, but noticed the man looked out the car window and drove away.

Seconds later, another truck entered the parking lot and parked near Yalcin’s vehicle. He watched in horror as the thieves smashed the back window of his van and stole his sister and her niece’s luggage.

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“Four people, all with their faces covered,” Yalcin told local ABC7.

Airport Plaza, located blocks from Oakland International Airport, has seen a significant increase in car thefts. fake images

“They broke the window and took all the luggage inside. … There are working people who go on vacation and I don’t want their vacation to become a nightmare like my sister.”

Car thefts in the area where Airport Plaza is located have seen a 32% increase compared to last year, with 2,305 incidents reported so far this year, according to Oakland police data obtained by The Post.

While Oakland police officials said they are placing more patrol cars to monitor the area, frustrated shoppers and those who work at the airport said this has done little to deter crime.

“This is not going to stop because [thieves] I don’t care,” one worker told the San Francisco Standard.

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