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SWAT team prepares to go inside CVS in search of robbery suspect

on March 9, 2012

A SWAT team is preparing to search inside the CVS drugstore at Pleasant Valley Avenue and Broadway in the hunt for a suspect who attempted to rob the store early Friday morning.

As of 10 am, the parking lot surrounding the store was roped off with yellow police tape as the SWAT team van arrived. Six to 12 other squad cars were visible in the lot as well.

Oakland Police Department spokesperson Officer Johnna Watson said that the OPD received a call at 6:40 am reporting a possible robbery suspect inside the store prior to the business opening. According to employees, she said, a man wearing a ski mask walked into the store and asked to see the manager. The employees immediately left the store, and it is not known whether the man is still inside, she said.

It is not known if the man had a gun, Watson said, although employees reported that they had not seen one when he entered the store. But, Watson said as the SWAT team arrived, “We’re prepared for the person inside to be armed and dangerous and have the intent to commit a crime.”

The search inside the store could take about an hour, Watson said.

The man is described as an African American male wearing a black or dark blue zip up jacket, black pants, and carrying a black backpack. Witnesses described him as between 5’6″ and 5’8″ tall and weighing approximately 140 pounds.

Pleasant Valley Avenue (which becomes 51st Street) is currently closed between Broadway and Piedmont Avenue.

Update 12:20 pm: According to a police officer at the scene, the SWAT team did not find anyone inside the store, and most of the police left the area at 11:15 am.

The streets surrounding the store and the parking lot have been re-opened, and the store is expected to re-open shortly.

Update 4:30 pm: The OPD has released store surveillance photos of the masked man and is asking for the public’s help in identifying him.

Oakland North will continue to update this story.


  1. […] Read the rest of the story at Oakland North. […]

  2. Sarah Turner on March 9, 2012 at 11:54 am

    “for a suspect who attempted to rob the store early Friday morning”

    There is absolutely no evidence for this kind of statement. He didn’t try to grab anything, he didn’t threaten anyone, and didn’t even pull out a weapon. The only thing they are hinging on is the ski-mask, which is totally legal to wear. You have a right to conceal your identity especially if you want to protest say to a manager. That is a legal right! *shakes head*

    If this were a state where self defense was actually accepted as a right, the store employees would have just shooed out this nut. However, since we are not able to be armed and defend ourselves, people act scared over the smallest of things. If this man turns out not to have a gun which i’m suspecting, then this will be a total case of abuse on the part of the store and the police.

    When was the last time you heard of a robber who walked with a ski-mask and no gun and hung around asking for the manager. This is a shame on our state, and another case to add to a gigantic mound of cases that never would have been cases if we honored the 2nd amendment here. Shame on us.

    • Madeline F on March 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm

      I agree that this was a silly overreaction, and add that CVS should be ashamed of what they’ve done to the Mega-Longs. I’m adding one thing because I remember it from browsing the municipal code of Oakland, which is hilarious in parts (seriously? It’s illegal to import squirrels?):


      9.08.070 – Masks and disguises.

      It is unlawful for any person in the city to appear in public in any mask, cap, cowl, hood or other thing concealing the identity of the wearer; excepting, however, persons attending or taking part in carnivals conducted in accordance with law or under permission of the proper authorities of the city and persons holding a written permit to so conceal their identity, which permit is issued by the Chief of Police.


      …I found it hilarious that we could have a Batman if he had a written permit from Howard Jordan.

  3. […] A SWAT team was dispatched to investigate whether the man was still in the store, but did not find anyone there. According to an OPD press release, the store’s surveillance video system showed that the man left the shop shortly after the employees fled. […]

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