Pediatric dentist visiting Oakland hit by thieves, loses all gear

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Dr. Lesley Latham is a pediatric dentist who was accepted as a resident at UCSF and admitted to its specialized training for medically challenged youngsters.

She and her mother traveled by car from Columbus, Ohio to San Francisco on June 30.

They parked at a metered spot on the street right next to the Oakland Marriott entrance.

They went inside to check in and when they came out, their car was broken into and all her belongings were stolen.

It included six pieces of luggage, a small TV, iPad, important documents which included a passport, papers related to her professional training, diplomas, etc.

But most important of all, the thieves stole her dental loupes, which is a pair of custom made surgical glasses built specifically to fit her pupils so no one else can use them but her.

The glasses cost $2,000 to $5,000 to make and without them, she can't perform much of her duties as a pediatric dentist.

She thought it was safe to leave her car there since there were valet parkers and doormen standing at the entrance.

When she came out, they said to her car burglaries happen all the time there and that they saw nothing.

But to take all the stuff she had - six pieces of luggage - the thieves had to double park their car to transfer her stuff over and that had to take some time.

The hotel manager told her since the car was parked on the street, it was not their problem.

So, no help from the hotel.

Dr. Latham called Oakland police and filed a report.

It took days before she could talk to a burglary inspector. They apologized saying they were understaffed and overloaded with too many similar cases of car break-ins.

They told her that there were security cameras around the hotel which may have captured the heist, but told her she would have to find them because again, they were understaffed.

Dr. Latham was shocked at that response.

Welcome to the Bay Area, doctor.

She told ABC7 News in the interview, "I was surprised especially coming from across the country. I've always had in my head like, I can't wait to get to the golden coast because everything is perfect in California. I am really surprised and shocked (at the reception she received)."
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