Oakland’s Chinatown was struck by one of the most audacious armed daytime robberies in its history, leaving one of the city’s oldest jewelry stores, Phuong Jewelry, shattered and its owners in shock. The incident took place on Wednesday around 12:30 p.m., plunging the family-owned business into chaos and terror.

According to Tony Trinh, who has witnessed previous robberies, this recent heist far surpassed any previous levels of brazenness. The surveillance footage captured eight individuals arriving in two getaway cars, drawing their guns, and wreaking havoc inside the store. Diane, a 69-year-old mother and co-owner, was seen ducking for cover and desperately calling for help as the suspects systematically smashed numerous display cases and looted the shop.

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The absence of a security guard during the incident made the situation even more precarious. However, the 76-year-old husband of Diane valiantly intervened, brandishing a firearm and causing the assailants to flee. Tony believes that his father’s courageous act prevented further loss and harm.

Unfortunately, the robbery resulted in a substantial blow to the store. Tony estimates that approximately 85 to 90% of the inventory was stolen, leaving his family’s American Dream shattered in less than a minute. The emotional toll on Diane and her husband is immeasurable, compounded by the fact that they had allowed their business insurance to lapse due to rising premiums.

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Despite the adversity, Tony remains optimistic. He currently serves as the executive director of the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council and is committed to revitalizing the area. He highlights the progress made in terms of cleanliness and safety, attributing it to additional resources such as walking officers and ambassadors, efforts that gained momentum even during the pandemic.

However, the future of the family’s business hangs in the balance. Tony acknowledges the challenges imposed by the hostile environment and the uncertainties they face.

The resilience of the Trinh family is evident as Diane plans to return to work just days after the traumatic incident. Her dedication sends a powerful message to the community and beyond – fear cannot control their lives. Recognizing that reducing crime requires increased activity, events, and community engagement, Tony stresses the importance of a strong Oakland Chinatown for the well-being of the entire city.

To aid in recovering from the massive loss, the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council has established a GoFundMe campaign. The Oakland Police Department continues its investigation into the case, urging anyone with relevant information to come forward and assist in apprehending those responsible.

 

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