“Smash and Grabs” on the Rise.
The San Carlos Police Bureau of the San Mateo Sheriff’s Department issued a city-wide alert yesterday warning residents and shoppers about a rise in auto burglaries in the downtown shopping district of San Carlos. This is not a new issue, as vehicle break-ins have been a persistent problem in areas that are in close proximity to Highway 101, like the San Carlos Plaza parking lot (Best Buy, Home Goods) and across the freeway at in the parking lot shared by Izzy’s and the hotel. These areas were prime targets because they allowed thieves a quick exit path to the freeway.
But this recent rash of break-ins has prompted the yet another advisory.
As the police have outlined in the alert below, thieves are resorting to punching out windows and grabbing anything of value in the car — phones, laptops, briefcases — especially if they are left in plain sight. But because the police suspect that thieves are “lying in wait,” they may see potential targets put their valuables out of sight or lock them in the trunk, so they will still break into the car as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
It’s unfortunate to have to post this kind of bad news on the site, but it’s far better to be forewarned than to become a victim. Here is the Sheriff’s Department alert in its entirety:
In the recent week, there have been numerous auto burglaries throughout the various parking plazas where side windows are smashed and purses, laptops, briefcases and luggage has been taken. All though these recent incidents were between 5 & 8 pm, this type of theft is also happening during the daytime as well.
The common methods thieves have been using recently are to park in parking lots and watch people as they exit their vehicles. The victims themselves unknowingly assist the thieves by some of the following actions;
• Women exit their vehicles and then re-enter the car to put their purse or handbag under the front seat or in the back seat and cover it with a coat.
• Travelers on business trips will exit the car and place their briefcase/luggage in the back seat or trunk.
• Laptops and other electronic devices are left in plain view on the front seat
• Shoppers will carry packages and purchased items back to their vehicle and place them in the back seat or trunk and then return to shopping.
• Business people at the end of the day “carpool” to dinner from work and upon parking their car, they leave their briefcases and laptops on the seat and cover them with their business coats.
Each of the above scenarios occurred this week. Times have changed and motorists need to be more aware of their surroundings and their own actions. There is a reason why one vehicle is targeted over another…..opportunity. Next time you reach to place your wallets under the front seat beware that this seemingly innocent action might be all the thief is looking for.
San Carlos as well as many other communities in our area is experiencing these types of thefts. What we are not experiencing is break-ins where “Nothing” is taken. Don’t leave anything of value in your vehicle. If you’re shopping and place packages inside your vehicle, drive off and find another place to park. When you return home, remove your valuables and lock your car. Report suspicious persons or behavior to your local Police or Sheriff.
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