Staff writers

OAKLAND -- Elevenpeople were arrested and boats, cars and heavy equipment were found as a large-scale theft operation was broken up Wednesday after a two-month investigation, authorities said.

Police found 23 men and women inside a massive gray warehouse tucked away in a corner of the Fruitvale district at 845 36th Ave., between Interstate 880 and nearby railroad tracks.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer Sean Wilkenfeld said 16 other men and women were detained and were being questioned Wednesday afternoon. There is no sign outside the building, and business records listed for the address are either expired or the phone number has been disconnected or changed.

Police did not release any names, ages or cities of residence of those arrested but said more arrests might come later Wednesday. The 11 people arrested were taken into custody on a variety of charges, including suspicion of auto theft, possession of drugs, and warrants including parole violations, police said.

Dozens of heavily armed law enforcement officers raided the building at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday. Numerous vehicles were found on the premises, including more than 50 vehicles, at least one stolen cargo trailer, boats and recreational vehicles, police said. At least 10 firearms and an unspecified quantity of methamphetamine were found on the property.

Wilkenfeld said the investigation was ongoing and declined to discuss exactly what was found on the premises.


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Auto theft in Oakland rose 10 percent last year compared to 2012, with more nearly 7,800 vehicles stolen from the city in 2013, according to Oakland police statistics.

The investigation, which began in December, was headed by the Alameda County Regional Auto Theft Task Force, including members of the California Highway Patrol and the Oakland Police Department. Homeland Security; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Alameda County Probation; and Oakland Animal Control also assisted. Several pit bulls were taken from the scene.

The 24-hour Parent Teacher Child Care Center, at East Ninth and 35th Avenue, was placed on lockdown during the raid. The preschool serves about 50 children, ages 3-5. There were no injuries.

Staff writer Matthew Artz contributed to this story. Reach Harry Harris at hharris@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/harryharris15. Reach Kristin J. Bender at kbender@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/kjbender.