Man arrested after San Francisco woman tracks down her stolen backpack using tracking device

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- When personal property like a backpack or handbag is stolen in San Francisco, the odds of getting it back are usually slim to none. That is unless you're Hanna Beckman who used her determination the help of strangers and a lot of luck to get her backpack back.

Hanna showed us surveillance video from about a week ago when she and her sister were enjoying a night out at the Executive Order bar in San Francisco's Mission District.

When Hanna's sister gets up to use the restroom and leaves her backpack on a hook under the bar for just a few minutes, she returns and the backpack is gone.

"You can see... this man came and sat down and waited for my sister to leave... and use that opportunity to pick it up off the hook and walk out the door."

Hanna at first thought getting her possessions back was a lost cause. Until she remembered the Tile tracking device attached to her keys.

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"I was getting notifications... it felt close enough that I still had hope."

After her initial call to police the night her backpack was stolen, San Francisco Police responded and took her police report. When the keys pinged later in the week and Hanna called for an officer to respond to the location, she was told the resources that night were scarce and the department couldn't send an officer to the new location. That's when she offered to track down the man herself and was told an officer could then respond to the scene.

"I take BART, I go down to Lafayette and Howard and I have his photo. I peek around the corner and I see he's there. I waited until I was sure it was him and it matches the description. It matches the footage and I realized he's wearing my backpack!"

Under normal circumstances, it's not recommended for victims of crimes to track down suspects. However, in this case, Sgt. Michael Andraychak says Hanna did everything right.

"She took some initiative to go out to the scene and verify that her property was there, then she stayed back and called 911 and waited for police. Also having a police report number so officers could have access and they could study up on the original incident very quickly was helpful."

While Hanna did get her backpack and keys back, albeit in filthy condition, her laptop inside still hasn't been found. She has this message for anyone with the Tile app who helped her track down the man who took her belongings and led to his arrest for grand theft.

"It's a community effort. Being an active bystander, an active participant in our city to help people when you see things happen can be scary. I think using caution and your judgement can make a difference and you can help people."
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