Oakland College, Robbery, Car break-in

Florida Family Pulls Teen Out Of Oakland, California College After Robbery

Victim warns others to "be careful" when visiting the Bay area city.

A Florida family has pulled their son out of an Oakland, California university after thieves broke into their rental car and stole their belongings, including their passports and $3,000 in cash.

Rhomel Crossman arrived in Oakland on Saturday to attend Lincoln University, where he was slated to join the school’s football team as a defensive tackle. But the harrowing incident has caused the family to reconsider.

At around 6:15 p.m. Saturday, the family parked their rented Nissan Rogue on the corner of 15th and Franklin, a block away from the University. The family then went into a nearby Jamaican restaurant to pick up some food. They returned approximately 15 minutes later to find the car’s windows smashed and five suitcases gone. Along with their clothes, the thieves took personal documents, including three passports, social security cards, Crossman’s birth certificate, his high school diploma, and a sleep apnea machine. According to the family, a witness saw masked men driving in a car without license plates. 

“I didn’t know that these things happen in America so it’s really strange to me,” Crossman’s mother, Nerrisa Murray Watson, told KTVU News. 

Recently, San Francisco has earned the name “Bip City.” “Bipping” is slang that comes from the police term “burglary in progress,” according to The San Francisco Standard. Robbers commonly use a small hammer to break car windows without much force. As of March 2024, Oakland has seen a 32% increase in smash-and-grab robberies since last year. 

According to Murray Watson, the family called 911 three times but were told that they had to go to a police station to file a report. Murray Watson referred to Oakland as a “lawless” city and she is concerned for her son’s safety. 

“I have to bring my son to Florida because it’s not safe here,” she told KTVU News.

The outlet reached out to the University but did not receive a response.

RELATED CONTENT: Michigan Governor Speaks at MSU Student Arielle Anderson’s Funeral: Says She Was ‘Robbed’ of Her Future