San Francisco man tracks down stolen van after police unable to assist

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- When the owner of Bandago Van Rentals, Sharky Laguana, rented out the van named Kathleen, and it didn't come back on its due date, he knew something was up.

"I realize it's rented with a fake ID and I can't report the vehicle stolen," Laguana told ABC7 News.

Under California law, rental companies can't report a vehicle stolen or embezzled until it's five days past due.

This means, after a long back and forth with the San Francisco Police Department, there was nothing they could do for Laguana. He even documented his frustration on Twitter, which caught the eye of San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim.

You can read the full thread Laguana Tweeted out here:

"I think there are some changes, primarily to state law, that can be done better to distinguish between embezzlement and car theft and also identity theft," Kim told ABC7 News.

But then in a stroke of sheer luck, Laguana's driving home from a dentist appointment along Sutter Street and sees his stolen van right in front of him.

"We have very distinctive license plates," he said.

Laguana told ABC7 News that he called SFPD immediately, but was told that their hands were tied. He then decided to take matters into his own hands. "We tracked the van for three hours."

Adrenaline pumping, Laguana chased the van down Van Ness Avenue, then West on Hayes Street, turning on to Fillmore and at this point -- he's turned around, with little recollection of the direction he's going.

He ended up at 17th and Mission streets. he then finally reached the van one block over on Valencia.

"That's when we decided to go over there and bluff," Laguana added.

He told the three people inside the stolen van that police were on their way. Laguana got his keys back but not his sense of satisfaction.

The SFPD gave ABC7 News a statement, saying in part that they are: "Investigating the manner internally."

Sharky says he's glad to have his van back, but doesn't want the public to lose sight of the bigger picture.

"We know this is factoring into some of these break-in issues, we want to be part of the solution," Laguana added.
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