8 armed robbery suspects clear out Phuong Jewelry Store in Chinatown in Oakland, CA: Caught on camera


OAKLAND, Calif. — One of Northern California’s oldest jewelry stores is picking up the pieces after one of the most brazen, armed daytime robberies we’ve ever seen.

The chaos and terror that unfolded at Phuong Jewelry in Oakland’s Chinatown Wednesday at around 12:30 p.m. is by far the worst robbery the family-owned business has experienced in more than 40 years of operation.

“We’ve been robbed a few times before but not at this level of brazen magnitude. Eight individuals and two getaway cars and guns drawn,” says Tony Trinh whose mind was racing after learning about what happened. “I thought, did my mother get shot? Did my father get shot? Did any of our staff of community members?”

Surveillance shows 69-year old mother Diane ducking for cover and screaming for help as those eight individuals smash nearly every single case and ransack the shop. With no security guard on duty at the time, Diane’s 76-year-old husband comes storming in wielding a firearm which scares the suspects away.

“If he hadn’t done that they would have kept going,” says Tony, who estimates about 85 to 90% of the store’s inventory was taken in the heist. Diane’s American dream, gone in less than a minute.

“My mom was devastated and my dad was broken,” says Tony.

That devastating blow made worse, after the family let their business insurance lapse, due to rising premiums.

“It’s rough, my mom is the leader of the pack – when she suffers I suffer the same thing from her,” says Tony.

Crime in the area is what prompted Tony to become executive director of the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council. Despite what happened, he remains optimistic.

“I’ve seen tremendous progress even though it doesn’t feel like that. In terms of cleaning and safety, there are a lot more out there ambassadors – we have walking officers – during the pandemic we didn’t.”

But is he optimistic enough to stay in business?

“We would love to but with the environment and how tough it’s been we don’t know yet,” he says.

Diane says she’ll be back to work on Friday, which sends a greater message.

“We can’t let our fear overcome! The only way to reduce crime is to have more traffic, events, people to get more resources. A strong Oakland Chinatown is strong for every community in Oakland,” says Tony.

The Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council has started a GoFundMe to help recoup the massive loss. Oakland Police tell ABC7 News the investigation into this case is ongoing and ask for anyone with information to come forward.

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