Thugs in Oakland are targeting news crews, stealing their gear and assaulting the workers.
A KPIX news cameraman was punched and robbed during a live broadcast outside an Oakland high school, the latest in a spate of holdups targeting the media, police said Thursday.
Reporter Anne Makovec and cameraman Gregg Welk were on the air shortly after noon Wednesday outside Oakland Technical High School near the corner of 42nd Street and Broadway. They were at the school to do a story on the passage of Proposition 30, the tax measure preventing deep cuts to education.
As Makovec was finishing her report, police said, five men rushed up and grabbed a $6,000 camera from the tripod. Viewers saw the live picture being jarred and turned sideways for about two seconds.
One of the assailants punched Welk in the mouth before the group fled in a Mercedes-Benz, which apparently was accompanied by a Lexus, police said. Welk declined treatment by paramedics but saw his doctor.
Sources, however, said all KPIX crews covering stories in Oakland would be accompanied by security guards, day or night, effective immediately.
The incident comes amid a series of robberies in which media representatives have been victims throughout Oakland, often in broad daylight.
Veteran Oakland Tribune photographer Laura Oda has twice been robbed of cameras since July.
Late one night in June, a KTVU news crew was robbed of a computer, camera and tripod by several men who pushed their way into their van parked on Redwood Road in the Oakland hills.
In May, a man stole a camera and tripod from a KNTV crew at 20th Street and San Pablo Avenue.