Quiet San Jose neighborhood hit by thieves who broke into several cars

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A normally quiet San Jose neighborhood has unexpectedly become the Bay Area's latest hot spot for car burglaries.

The latest crime spree is along two streets less than a mile apart near San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood on Stokes Street and Grace Avenue, where there were at least a dozen break-ins overnight.

Police say the thieves are targeting cars parked on quiet roads.

"There's not much through-traffic, and there's not much activity happening on the street at night," said Stokes Ave. resident Laura Swan. "During the day, we have the high school opposite us, so there's always someone coming, going, so I don't think anything opportunistic is going to happen then."

RELATED: Smash and grab crime thieves migrating from San Francisco to Southern California

One victim heard noise overnight and spotted three suspects who had smashed her car window. She told police they were Hispanic and in their late teens or early 20's. The victim says the suspects were a man and two women who were able to get away.

There could be a potential break in this case.

A constituent of council member Dev Davis said that he called in to complain that the police did not respond to his call. However, there is a fingerprint on this vehicle, and that could be possibly linked to the culprit.

Police believe organized groups are behind the crime wave to obtain goods for overseas sales.

Five South Bay cities each received $750,000 in surplus state funds last summer to fight the break-ins.

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

Residents may not know they're parking in the latest crime hot spot. Some vehicles parked on Stokes Street show evidence of sitting here for long periods, thinking it's safe which is not the case anymore with all the break-ins.

"I've seen a couple of cars, unfortunately, that ended up that way, so right now, I'm taking care of a car for a friend, and I'm going to move it, shuffle it around and try not to leave it in the same place," said San Jose resident Todd Hartman.

San Jose police are using much of their $750,000 in special funding to focus on awareness at shopping centers, such as warning signs in multiple languages and flyers.

Money is also being spent on mobile license plate readers, GPS trackers, cameras and bait vehicles.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.