A well-known donut shop that operates 24 hours a day in the East Bay has become the latest target of a bold armed robbery.
In the early hours of Friday, just before 1 a.m., three individuals entered Colonial Donuts on Lakeshore Avenue. As soon as the cashier approached the trio, they leaped over the counter one by one, brandishing firearms.
Phing Yamamoto, the store manager, recounts the incident, stating, “They were shouting at him, threatening him with the gun, asking if he wanted to die.”
The men forcefully entered the backroom and instructed three bakers to lie low while they searched for a safe. However, their search proved fruitless, prompting them to return to the front of the shop and empty the cash register.
This particular Colonial Donuts location has been owned by Yamamoto’s family for almost four decades. She describes the small business as her parents’ embodiment of the American Dream. In order to carry on the family legacy and return to her hometown of Oakland, she even left her job at Apple.
Yamamoto reveals that her parents and the shop have endured challenges such as the Loma Prieta earthquake, a recession, and the pandemic.
By sharing the incident, she hopes to inspire change within the community. She plans to address the incident at the upcoming annual Lakeshore Merchants Association meeting on June 27, where Mayor Sheng Thao is scheduled to be in attendance.
“I hope they realize that small businesses are the lifeblood of Oakland’s community, and we are in need of help as we suffer in various ways,” says Yamamoto. “At times, I feel defeated. I don’t know what the solution is, but something must change.”
Despite the armed robbery, Colonial Donuts remained open on Friday. The owners hope that they won’t have to reduce their operating hours in the future due to criminal activities.
The Oakland Police report that no arrests have been made and urge anyone with additional information to come forward.