HomeTop StoriesOne of Bay Area Chinatown's oldest jewelry stores loses almost all its...

One of Bay Area Chinatown’s oldest jewelry stores loses almost all its inventory during a robbery

An Oakland jewelry store is determined to stay open even after a group of robbers steals nearly all of the owner’s life savings within minutes.

The robbery took place Wednesday afternoon at one of the oldest jewelry stores in Chinatown.

Video footage shows a group of six thieves, including one with a gun, storming into the store, violently smashing suitcases with hammers and taking whatever they can.

“We have a lot of people coming in here and we don’t know what to do,” owner Diane Trinh said. “I’m scared. Even now my heart still hurts.”

The robbery took place around 12:30 p.m., just as the store opened. As Trinh took cover, she shouted at her husband, who came out with a gun. It was enough to drive the robbers out the door, but not before stealing the store’s most expensive inventory.

“They brought the special diamonds here,” Trinh said. “They brought a lot with them. Then gold, 18 carat gold, 34 carat gold.”

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Trinh’s son, Tony, said the thieves “knew exactly what they wanted.”

“They went after the core core items, which represent about 85 to 90% of the value of our entire inventory,” he said.

The group entered after Trinh said one man was posing as a customer. In total, she said, nine people were involved.

She also said the chaos is causing trauma for the family. Trinh’s father was shot dead during a burglary at the same store in the 1990s.

“We didn’t lose any lives and it wasn’t that brutal,” Tony said. “It was two men. But it definitely brought that back.”

Tony is the Executive Director of Oakland’s Chinatown Improvement Council. He said the burglary also adds an additional burden because the store no longer has insurance.

“Insurance is so expensive on jewelry, especially in Oakland Chinatown,” he said. “Many businesses here don’t even qualify.”

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help restore the 40-year-old store and keep its doors open, something customers say is crucial for the entire community.

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“Hopefully they stay,” said customer Joey Golaw. “It will be a great loss for the city and for the people like us who come here year after year.”

As the family works to keep their legacy alive, they say they are determined not to let crime drive them out of Oakland.

“I think we have to be strong,” Tony said. “Things happen for a reason. Our family has suffered, but we have been showered with so much love and so much support.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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