Thieves break into Oakland graduate’s car, steal gifts and cash

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Car break-ins continue to be a problem in the city of Oakland and one of the latest victims is an East Bay high school student.

She was celebrating her graduation at a local restaurant when suspects broke into her car, stealing hundreds of dollars worth of gifts, and in the process, stealing away her special moment of becoming a high school graduate.

“I was definitely feeling excited, happy, I feel like I accomplished something and I got my family together so I was happy about that,” Surijhyah Farr said. 

And they showered Surijhyah with gifts, including $700 and even a new iPhone.

Following the ceremony, they celebrated at an Oakland restaurant on Broadway.

But when Surijhyah returned to her car, the windows were broken with thieves opening her trunk and stealing not only her graduation gifts — but also her graduation cap and diploma.

“I was just really upset, I feel like they took this opportunity from me, I kind of feel like they stole my moment,” she said.

While Oakland police say overall crime is trending down in the city, an analysis by NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit of OPD’s raw crime data shows the city is averaging 20 car break-ins per day this year.

The Investigative Unit also uncovered inconsistencies over the years when it comes to OPD’s weekly crime reports, and the actual raw crime data.

For example, during the week of April 8, the weekly crime report shows 10 car break-ins — but an analysis of the raw data shows 58.

Surijhyah’s mom Sieara Farr is frustrated her daughter’s special day was tainted by the car break-in. And she’s starting to lose hope that the city can address the issue since her car has been broken into three times in the past two years.

“I don’t think it’s something you can kind of control, unless you have police sitting on every corner patrolling all day, I don’t think there’s anything anybody can do,” Sieara said.

For now, Surijyah is focusing on the next steps in her journey with plans to attend Laney College and then transfer to San Francisco State.

She’s disappointed about the incident, but feels there’s a bigger picture as to why car break-ins continue to be a problem in the city.

“Times are so scarce right now people are trying find anything they can have, money is really tight, jobs are barely hiring,” Surijhyah said.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.