Aucklanders seek mayor Chien Thao's ouster over 'deplorable' levels of violent crime after city's only In-N-Out Burger restaurant was forced to close due to rampant theft

  • In-N-Out Hotel, located near the main route to and from Oakland International Airport, announced it will close its doors in March
  • Some residents blame Mayor Sheng Thao
  • A group working to remove the mayor issued a statement saying: “…she has now once again failed to respond to voters on why she should not be recalled.”



Aucklanders are seeking to oust the mayor over “deplorable” crime levels after the city's only In-N-Out Burger restaurant was forced to close due to rampant theft.

In-N-Out Hotel, which is located near the main route to and from Auckland International Airport, announced it will close its doors in March.

“Despite taking repeated steps to create safer conditions, our customers and partners regularly become victims of vehicle break-ins, property damage, theft and armed robbery,” COO Denny Warnick said in a statement.

However, some residents blame the city's mayor, Chieng Thao.

A group working to remove the mayor issued a statement saying: “After missing the deadline to apply for a multi-million dollar retail theft grant to help Oakland fight crime, she has now once again failed to respond to voters on why she was chosen.” Shouldn't remember.

In-N-Out is located on a square mile area and includes several gas stations that cops say are the targets of about a dozen violent crimes every day.
Some residents blame Mayor Sheng Thao
In July 2023, months after Thao took office, the Oakland Police Department was forced to issue a public safety warning citing an uptick in residential burglaries.

“Mayor Thao must realize that there is no defense for the indefensible. The current situation in Auckland is unfortunate, and she is directly at fault,” Seneca Scott, Auckland United's spokeswoman for the recall, said on Channel X.

“Mayor Thao's evasive behavior regarding her recall is reminiscent of a middle school student. After missing the deadline to apply for a multi-million dollar retail theft grant to help Oakland fight crime, she has now once again failed to respond to voters about why she should not be recalled.”

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“Every hour this mayor remains in office, Oakland becomes less safe,” Scott added.

In a statement to los angeles times, “As mayor, I have prioritized this vital gateway to Oakland and enhanced police presence and used technology to deter and respond to criminal behavior,” Thao responded.

She claimed that the public safety resources implemented are working to reduce property crimes along the Heigenberger Corridor, but acknowledged that more change needs to be made.

“I will work with regional and international leaders to protect this tourism gateway to Auckland,” she told the outlet.

A group working to remove the mayor issued a statement saying: “After missing the deadline to apply for a multi-million dollar retail theft grant to help Oakland fight crime, she has now once again failed to respond to voters on why she was selected.” “It is not necessary to remind”
Auckland's Democratic Mayor, Sheng Thao (pictured), who has held the position since January 2023, denied that her policies were the sole reason for the rise in crime rates.
Auckland's official crime statistics reveal car theft has risen by almost 50 percent over the past year
Located near Auckland Airport, In-N-Out has become an ideal target for thieves in the area.
Cars near In-N-Out are often targets of theft

How In-N-Out's COO blames rising crime rates for the Oakland store's closing

Denny Warnick, In-N-Out's Chief Operating Officer, said:

“We have made the decision to close our In-N-Out Burger location in Oakland, California, due to ongoing issues with crime. Despite taking repeated steps to create safer conditions, our customers and associates regularly fall victim to vehicle break-ins, property damage, theft and armed robbery. Our last day of business in Auckland will be Sunday 24 March 2024.

“We are grateful to the local community, who have supported us for over 18 years, and recognize that this closure is negatively impacting our associates and their families.

“In addition, this remains a busy and profitable location for the company, but our top priority must be the safety and well-being of our customers and partners – and we cannot ask them to visit or work in an unsafe environment.”

“All affected associates will have the opportunity to relocate to a nearby In-N-Out location or, alternatively, receive a severance package. In-N-Out Burger has a rich history of supporting the Oakland community through charitable giving leading up to the opening of our location there.” Although we will no longer be doing business there, we will continue to support local charitable organizations in Oakland through the In-N-Out Burger Foundation and the Slave 2 Nothing Foundation.

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Auckland's only In-N-Out Burger restaurant is set to close its doors after 18 years, despite still making good profits, as customers and staff are “unsafe” due to rising crime rates, the company said.

Denny Warnick, the company's chief operating officer, said that the branch of the 75-year-old company in Oakland, California, will close its doors in March, due to the crime that endangered the lives of customers and employees.

Data from the Auckland Police Force revealed earlier this month that burglaries increased by a whopping 38% from 2022 to 2023, the period Thao was in charge.

“Despite taking repeated steps to create safer conditions, our customers and partners regularly become victims of vehicle break-ins, property damage, theft, and armed robbery,” Warnock wrote in a statement.

Store workers have the option of transferring to another location, or accepting a severance package.

Car theft in particular has been on the rise, with police reporting a 44 percent increase in 2023 compared to 2022.

Robberies also jumped 23 percent from the previous year.

In-N-Out is located on a square mile and includes several gas stations that cops say are the targets of about a dozen violent crimes every day.

Less than a mile from the Chevron Hotel, a Shell gas station on Hegenberger Road is suffering from thefts. About five hundred yards from Shell, another chevron is another hotspot. Besides, the In-N-Out Burger parking lot is visited daily.

Police say the criminals, who operate in well-organized groups, follow the same rules of the game: A spotter watches the targets, usually charters heading to or from the airport, as they stop at gas stations.

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They then alert their partners, who stop the car, when the targets start pumping gas. Often, they smash the back window or open the trunk of unlocked vehicles before escaping with the luggage and valuables. Thefts only take seconds

Car theft in particular has seen a significant rise, with police reporting a 44% increase in 2023 compared to 2022.
The four stores near Auckland International Airport are prime targets for thieves

This rise has earned Shell the title of “America’s Most Dangerous Gas Station.” The two Chevron locations are also top contenders for the unwanted title.

Online reviews of these gas stations and In-N-Out are filled with dozens of complaints from customers who have been scammed.

Shocking video from an In-N-Out parking lot shows a robber crashing into a black SUV in broad daylight. The crook crouches down, lifts his feet off the ground through the car's back window, and grabs several items before running off to the waiting getaway car while more than a dozen onlookers watch.

Another clip from Outside the Shell shows a thief using exactly the same method to steal a backpack from the trunk of a car. Two feet off the ground, he leans toward the shattered back window to collect the loot before escaping.

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