71 car break-ins reported at Golden Gate Bridge parking lot

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Car break-ins are on the rise compared to this time last year around the Golden Gate Bridge parking lot area.

According to Golden Gate Bridge's law enforcement, 71 car break-ins were reported in the last seven months.

RELATED: San Francisco residents pleading with thieves to spare their vehicles

"The numbers have increased this year compared to last year. Last year, we had 38 incidents," said Captain David Rivera.

The latest victim is Andrew Getty, a Navy officer moving from Hawaii to North Carolina with his family.

"Did you see the signs around the parking lot?" "Oh yeah I did. They say 'Don't leave your valuables'. Well, I'm moving with a wife and two kids from Hawaii to North Carolina and I just got off an airplane," said Getty.

The brazen thieves stole a laptop, personal documents and his wife's purse, but to them, all that can be replaced except: "when an 8 and a 9-year-old moves... what are the things they bring? It's her stuffed animals, her books, and her diary. The real irreplaceable items are those things," said Getty.

In a matter of 10 to 15 seconds, windows are smashed and people like Navy Officer Getty go from tourists to victims. Captain Rivera showed us how thieves operate in the parking lot.

RELATED: Bill being introduced to help deter vehicle break-ins in San Francisco

"Thieves are coming up and they are seeing the same thing that you and I are seeing. They come up to a vehicle and look at those bags and say 'OK... I can grab that' and they'll break a glass and run out," said Captain Rivera.

We walked around the small parking lot and, in a matter of 10 minutes, we saw at least five vehicles with visible belongings inside.

A grey SUV had a Minnie Mouse suitcase in the back seat.

Minutes later, the suitcase owners showed up. Salvatore LoCascio and his wife traveled from Italy to San Francisco on their honeymoon. When we asked LoCascio if he knew about the car break-ins, his response was, "I didn't know that someone could break my window and take my stuff. I didn't think of it."

Golden Gate Bridge's captain said they are working on saturating the area with a bigger law enforcement presence but can't be everywhere. Officers cover two parking lots -- the Golden Gate Bridge for suicide prevention and to help the public.

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