Black entrepreneur angry and frustrated at his ‘own people’ for burglaries at vegan shop in Oakland: ‘We all need to step up’

A black entrepreneur is angry and frustrated that his vegan shop has been burglarized by young black males, and he is demanding the community step up to do something about it.

Chef Imani Greer is the owner and CEO of Roasted and Raw a plant-based restaurant in downtown Oakland on 14th and Jefferson streets. He says that the constant burglaries are threatening to shut down his business.

“It’s everything. It’s crying, it’s rage, it’s anger, it’s frustration, it’s defeat,” said Greer to KTVU-TV on Tuesday.

He said his business suffered a fourth burglary recently after only being open for about two years.

“It’s a very defeating feeling to just try so hard every day and even as a leader you don’t have time to grieve,” Greer said.

The latest break-in happened on Monday at about 4:30 a.m.

“Couple guys, young guys, broke in, they basically hit the glass. Then they just go,” Greer said. “It’s almost a routine.”

Prior to opening up his brick and mortar shop in downtown Oakland, Greer had operated the business as a pop-up in Jack London Square. He has over 20 years’ experience as a chef.

“They have been … my own people.”

He said that the restaurant was just celebrating record sales in March when it was burglarized the last time.

“Unfortunately, all four of our break-ins have been young black males. They have been my own, my own people,” Greer continued. “And it’s heartbreaking.”

When asked who was to blame for the situation, he said society has to look at the home and schools.

“This is an Oakland problem. It’s not City Hall’s fault, it’s everyone’s fault. We all need to step up and do something,” said Greer.

He went on to say that even if he thought about leaving downtown, it would be tough to do logistically.

“Just because you get broken into a few times doesn’t mean you can just pack up and leave. You’re stuck into a lease, that if you leave, you’re gonna have to deal with an eviction court,” Greer explained.

“Hold yourself accountable. Grow.”

The business owner provided security video showing the burglars climbing into the restaurant after breaking the glass on a door.

Greer had a message for criminals who used their personal circumstances as an excuse to steal from others.

“Hold yourself accountable. Grow. Just because you were raised a certain way or weren’t raised a certain way. Just because you come from a certain area, we can change,” said Greer.

“We can improve,” he concluded. “There are jobs out here.”

Here’s the interview with Chef Greer:

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