(KRON) — A man who shattered the window of an Oakland bookstore Sunday night and stole several books was caught on camera. In the video, which was recorded by a surveillance camera, a well dressed man breaks the window, casually reaches in, grabs a few books, and walks away.
The theft occurred about 9 p.m. Sunday at Marcus Books on Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The bookshop, which opened in 1960, is said to be the oldest independently owned Black bookstore in the country.
“You see a huge rock come through the window and then you see the person that threw the rock walk casually up to the window and remove some of the books from display,” said Marcus Books co-owner, Blanche Richardson.
Richardson said the thief took four new hardback fiction books worth up to $150. The cost to repair the front window to the bookstore, which she co-owns with her brother Billy, is about $1,200.
A 50-year-old piece of stained-glass art gifted to her by her brother was also damaged.
“It really makes me angry, because it’s so senseless and expensive,” said Richardson.
Apart from the books, nothing else was taken. The suspect used a piece of asphalt to smash the window, according to the store owner.
“He doesn’t appear to be drunk or on drugs of homeless. He even looks like he’s got a Black Panther t-shirt on, so it’s perplexing,” said Richardson.
Richardson said the bookstore has been burglarized several times in the past, most recently about six months ago. That case has still not been solved and Richardson said the Oakland Police Department never responded after the initial report was filed.
Although no books were taken in that crime, electronics were. The store was also vandalized, resulting in $2,500 in losses and damages.
“They seem to be behaving as though there are absolutely no consequences to their actions,” Richardson said.
These thefts come at a bad time for Richardson, whose family is preparing to reopen their shuttered San Francisco storefront. She said the window needs to be repaired quickly, before the holiday season, which, like most small businesses, she depends on to get through the rest of the year.
Fortunately, her brother was able to quickly board up the window and the store has not had to close as a result of the burglary.
KRON4 reached out to the Oakland Police Department for more information. We have not yet heard back.