San Francisco to reward up to $100K for info leading to arrests of organized theft rings

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a new incentive to tear down the organized car break-ins that continue to plague the city. Her plan is to go after the big fish in these operations by offering up to $100,000 for information leading to their arrest and conviction.

"The criminals are committing these acts in broad daylight in this city," expressed Mayor Breed during a press conference at the Aquatic Park, near Fisherman's Wharf.

While the mayor was addressing the city's bitter reality, just four blocks away a couple from Seattle fell victim to this type of crime.



"We both had our backpacks, he had his work laptop in there," said Anna Przybylowicz.

ABC7 News quickly called two police officials who were with the chief and mayor at that press conference, just moments before, to try to help the couple who said they were disappointed by what just happened.

"It's not the best impression," added Ryan Perry of Seattle.

Earlier, the mayor had acknowledged the damage car break-ins are doing to San Francisco's reputation.

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"It is embarrassing for our city," she added.

Ironically, the city was rolling out a new incentive to try to reduce this type of crime. A reward of up to $100,000 is now being offered for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the high-level leaders of organized auto burglary fencing operations.

"Every time they pay off a thief, their friends and associated, the people who know who they are and know what they do, it's a weak spot and this reward helps provide motivation for those people to stand up and do the right things and let us know who they are so that we can shut them down," said Sharky Laguana, President of the Small Business Association.

Officials from the hospitality and tourism industry in San Francisco have become so frustrated with these car break-ins that private donors have offered to fund the new cash reward system.

RELATED: Report: San Francisco sees 753% increase in car break-ins in tourist areas

Last July, the mayor expanded the number of community-based ambassadors and police patrols in tourist and retail areas. Since then there has been a 37% drop in auto burglaries. The police chief said 26 officers were added, the majority of them focusing on the Fisherman's Wharf area.

"This is where we have seen a significant amount of reduction in car burglaries since we rolled this out in July," revealed Police Chief William Scott.

Unfortunately for the Seattle couple, not a single officer was nearby to stop this crime from occurring.

"We have a whole lot more work to do," added Chief Scott.

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