Tourists say surveillance camera caught San Francisco thief in action

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Car break-ins are one of the fastest growing crimes in the Bay Area, and tourists are especially vulnerable. A surveillance camera caught one man in action as he got away with a bunch of stuff from a group visiting San Francisco.

This last weekend, a member of the ABC7 News team came upon a group of tourists who had just been the victim of a car burglary. They've since gone on to make the best of their visit to the Bay Area and they've shared pictures of the break-in.

The tourists shared surveillance camera images with ABC7 News of the Friday afternoon break-in.

In the images you see a man wearing a striped sweater walk over to their rental van and look inside. Eventually you see his legs dangling out of the rear window. When he's finished, he walked to a white Chrysler sedan parked behind the van.

The tourists say they lost thousands of dollars' worth of jewelry and other property.

A spokesperson for the San Francisco District Attorney's Office says they've made progress on cracking down on serial car burglars. Deputy District Attorney Alex Bastian says tourists seem to be a new target.

"The Sixth Amendment affords every defendant the right to face their accuser," he said in a statement. "So out-of-state or out of country victims are challenging cases at times. But we are taking on new strategies to deal with this."

At Alamo Square, street signs warn people not to leave valuables in their cars. That's where ABC7 News talked to Rebecca Cruse and Flame Stenson, who were visiting from Australia.

"Yeah, we've seen heaps of glass on the sidewalks," said Cruse. "I've seen heaps, and that's what I said, there must have been heaps of break-ins."

When ABC7 News showed her pictures of the Friday break-in, she shared an interesting story from their visit to Chinatown on Sunday night.

"I saw some dude, same hair, looking in a car, and then sort of looking around, and then looking in the car again," she said.

Tourists might also be particularly vulnerable because they don't always know not to leave valuables in their car.
Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.