Security Firm Fired after Arena Theft in Oakland

ABC Security replaces WSB and Associates after plasma TVs, ATMs stolen


OAKLAND -- A private security firm that patrolled the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum complex the night plasma TVs and ATMs were stolen has been fired.

WSB and Associates, a San Francisco-based firm that has patrolled the complex for five years, will be replaced by ABC Security, an Oakland-based firm with deep political connections at City Hall.

ABC Security will take over patrols at the complex Monday, said Mark Kauffman, an SMG employee and general manager for the complex.

The decision to fire WSB and Associates was made by SMG, a firm that manages the complex.

Kauffman said the Jan. 4 burglary played a role in the firing but other factors contributed. He said he has no idea what will happen to the 14 or so guards who worked for WSB, but said he doubts they all will be re-hired by ABC Security.

"I'm sure the new company will not employ some of them," he said.

WSB was hired five years ago and had a contract to patrol the complex 24 hours a day.

On the night of the burglary, WSB had two guards working at the complex.

However, neither saw anything unusual until

4 a.m. when one of the guards noticed a broken glass door at the Oracle Arena's south entrance, an Oakland Police Department report states.

At the same time, another guard noticed a parking lot gate on the complex's south side also had been broken.

The burglars made off with three 37-inch flat-screen plasma TVs, one 50-inch flat-screen monitor and three ATMs containing more than

$27,000, the police report states. Each 37-inch plasma TV was valued at $1,699, according to the report. It did not give a value for the 50-inch monitor.

Kauffman said the entire operation seems to have taken about 17 minutes and was highly choreographed.

"The timeframe is what makes this unusual," he said.

Nevertheless, at least one of the guards working for WSB said Thursday that the company and the guards are being used as a scapegoat.

"Some of the guards are upset about this," he said. "We were on patrol that night."

Bobby Sisk, president and founder of WSB and Associates, said he had no ill will toward the Coliseum Authority or SMG. He also said the guards who worked the Coliseum account will be transferred to other WSB contracts.

"The client has the right to do what they feel they ought to do to protect their interest," he said. "I don't think it would be appropriate for me to suggest anything else but to say the client has the right to terminate the contract."

Ana Chretien, president and CEO for ABC Security, is a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Alameda County and is close friends with Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente.