Oakland legacy jewelry store all but wiped out in brazen daytime heist, until owner gets his gun

At this stage of the game, it’s remarkable that small business owners can stay in business in California.

One of Oakland’s oldest jewelry stores was targeted in a brazen, armed daytime robbery on Wednesday that all but cleaned out the store. The robbery was the worst in the family-owned store’s 40 years of operation, ABC 7 reported.

Eight armed suspects stormed into Phuong Jewelry in Oakland’s Chinatown just after noon and began crashing the display cases and grabbing the contents while the 69-year-old mother ducked behind the counter and screamed for help — she would eventually escape to a back room, where her 76-year-old husband emerged with a gun to chase the thugs away.

“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,” Tony Trinh said. “I thought, did my mother get shot? Did my father get shot? Did any of our staff of community members?”

“If he hadn’t done that they would have kept going,” Tony said of his father emerging with a gun,

He estimated that about 85 to 90% of the store’s inventory was taken in the heist, according to the affiliate. “And to make matters worse rising premiums prompted the family to let their business insurance lapse.

“My mom was devastated and my dad was broken,” Tony said. “It’s rough, my mom is the leader of the pack – when she suffers I suffer the same thing from her.”

Tony is executive director of the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council, a position he pursued because of crime, and while optimistic about the larger picture, he’s not as sure about whether his family business will survive the robbery.

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

“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,” he added.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the business, with $5,275 collected as of this writing toward a goal of $50,000.

Here’s a quick sampling of response to the story, as seen on X:

Tom Tillison


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