ABC7 gets tour of prolific burglar's stolen goods

(San Francisco police gave ABC7 an exclusive tour of the warehouse where a prolific burglar's loot is being stored.)

November 17, 2010 7:50:28 PM PST
The tale of Pooja Gandhi reads like the plot of a mystery novel. The 30-year-old woman is educated, well-traveled, from a good family and prior to her February arrest, she had no criminal record. But police say she stole everything that wasn't nailed down. Wednesday, San Francisco police gave ABC7 a tour of the warehouse where her loot is being stored.

Sergeants Marty Lalor and Victoria Sullivan showed ABC7 what police confiscated. The rooms of the warehouse are still filled, even though about three of the eight truckloads of stolen goods have already been returned to their owners.

There are paintings, laptops, tools and more unique items like an autographed baseball, a doctor's bag, a motorized trail bike and even a vacuum cleaner.

"She was pretty much able to take anything, anything that was mobile was taken by these people," Lalor said.

Police arrested Gandhi and her associate Joseph Valdez in February at a Polk Street apartment. To their surprise, they found five truckloads of stolen items there and another three truckloads at a Noe Valley apartment.

Sullivan says Gandhi got rid of her stolen goods quickly by selling them at local flea markets.

"She had a flea market stand at the Albany flea market and she also sold at the Oakland Coliseum flea market," Sullivan said.

Most of the designer clothes and dog collars have already been reclaimed by their owners, as well as hair salon products that police inventoried after the bust.

The salon products were stolen from Catherine Hackworth's salon on Polk Street. The thieves took almost everything.

"Everything somebody might need to actually open a small salon of their own," Hackworth said.

The thieves took hair products, chairs, towels, robes and expensive shears. The crafty thieves even took Hackworth's appointment book. Before they left, they looked up their home addresses in the salon's computer.

Police say they do not know if any of Hackworth's clients' homes were burglarized, but Hackworth says nothing can make up for her lost business.

Gandhi is in jail awaiting trial. There is also an immigration hold on her because she is an illegal immigrant from Canada.


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