Oakland Police Announce Arrests of 'Principals' in Takeover Robberies

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday September 03, 2008 - 03:45:00 PM

Oakland police said today (Wednesday) that they have made what they consider a major breakthrough in the city’s restaurant takeover robberies, announcing the arrest of three suspects following a Tuesday night takeover at K&T Nail Salon at 108th Avenue and Bancroft in East Oakland. 

Arrested following the robbery were 29-year-old Leon Lester, 30-year-old Rachaan Lamonthe, and 20-year-old Shante Bostic. No cities of residence were released for the suspects, who remain in police custody. 

While no formal charges have yet been brought against the suspects, OPD says they believe the three were linked to the Aug. 4 robbery of Kerry House on Piedmont Avenue, the Aug. 22 robbery of Nomad Café on Shattuck Avenue, and the Aug. 24 robbery of Full Moon Seafood House at 20th Avenue and MacArthur. 

In addition, police say that at least one of the three arrestees was an “associate” of the two suspects earlier arrested in the July 16 Lamyx Tea Bar robbery (Lakeshore Avenue) and the July 18 El Torero Taqueria robbery (58th and International). However, police said that there was no evidence at this time to connect the suspects to members of West Oakland’s Acorn Gang, who police believe were responsible for takeover robberies in the spring of this year. 

OPD Public Information Officer Jeff Thomason said that while “by no means is the investigation into the [current string of] takeover robberies over,” police believe “we have the key principals in custody.” 

There was no word as of press time as to whether any of the three suspects had retained counsel. 

Police officials said that following the 6 p.m. robbery at the K&T Nail Salon, police found an automobile nearby fitting the description of the getaway car with ski masks, a firearm, and items taken in the robbery inside. Officials said that this led to the subsequent arrests of Lester, Lamonthe, and Bostic at another location. 

Deputy Chief Jeff Israel told a Wednesday afternoon press conference that it was “not just luck or happenstance” that led to the arrests, but that police had already suspected the three of involvement in the robberies “based upon tips gained from the public.” Israel said that the information gained earlier in the investigation allowed police to quickly locate the suspects once the getaway vehicle was found. 

Also appearing at Wednesday’s press conference was Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, who said he was “asking the residents of Oakland to continue to go about their lives normally and not let fear overtake us. We want to reassure residents that we will continue to make significant efforts until all of the culprits [in the takeover robberies] are brought to justice.”