San Leandro Bytes
Tourist Attractions

Williams Street Center

Williams Street Center
Early on the morning of April 16, 2004, hundreds of federal and local law enforcement agents armed with guns and a sealed search warrant swooped into and around the Williams Street Center at 2040 Williams Street in San Leandro. The search lasted all day April 16 and into the afternoon of April 17.

With great fanfare, authorities banned aircraft from flying over the complex for three and a half hours as a precaution because Oakland International Airport was nearby. Agencies present included the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, the California Highway Patrol, police in Oakland, San Leandro and Hayward, the San Leandro and Alameda County fire departments, the federal Environmental Protection Agency, and the Alameda County Sheriff's Department. While none of those searching the site would discuss the warrant, U.S. Magistrate Edward Chen told the San Francisco Chronicle, "The warrant was for a bunch of devices for rockets that could be launched from military vehicles and (for) some M-16s." On Saturday, April 17, ATF spokesperson Marti McKee confirmed that they were looking for "military weapons and explosives" and found none.

The 25-acre site was formerly used as a Kellogg's corn flakes plant and is now used by owner Harold Chapman for his Lotta Stuff business, which sells everything from vehicles to hydraulic equipment and electronics to machine tools. Nearby residents may recognize the facility from its pedestrian bridge between the parking lot and the buildings.

ATF spokesperson Marti McKee said that the raid was the result of a six-month investigation by the ATF, FBI and the Alameda County Bureau of Narcotics Task Force. The search came up empty-handed, but according to the owner, resulted in nearly $1 million of damage. Good work!