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OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Oakland liquor store workers have fought back against an alleged serial thief after they say police refused to become involved.
Surveillance footage from Ideal Market on Market St. in West Oakland shows a man stealing three bottles of champagne before walking out of the store while waving a bottle at the clerk.
“He walks out like a tough guy and that nobody can stop him. It’s like the wild, wild west here,” clerk Ahmed Eraja said.
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The thief is seen dropping and breaking two bottles outside the store before workers catch up to him and his bike a block away to retrieve the third bottle.
In another video shot by a bystander outside the store, workers are seen pushing the man away as he tries to take back the bottle back from Eraja.
The thief then gets slammed down on the ground as he keeps coming after Eraja, who then sprays him with mace. “He started becoming aggresive, and I had a can of mace next to me. so I decided to use it rather than make it worse. That way, I can have control of the situation.”
Onlookers can be heard in the background of the video saying the clerks were being too aggressive over a few bottles of alcohol, but the workers said it was at least the third time the same man had targeted their store.
“It doesn’t feel good, but something has to be done. Otherwise it gets worse and worse,” Eraja said.
Store workers said police don’t respond to this kind of petty crime, so they took matters into their own hands.
The Oakland Police department has seen the surveillance video, but has not commented.
Eraja also displayed surveillance video of an armed robbery of the store from two years ago, saying police investigators never took it as evidence when he offered.