Car break-ins are at an all-time high in San Francisco, we've all heard again and again and again. And, sure, that stinks for the victims, but won't someone think of the poor burglars, trapped in the daily grind of smashing and grabbing without, it appears, even a frisson of peril at the hands of Johnny Law? What a dismal existence, rifling through someone else's vehicle without any sort of thrill of consequences. How boring that must be! And why, perhaps, some auto burglars are trying something new: Waiting for their victims and then ransoming their shit back to them.
Anywhere else, a car smash-and-grabber would follow that grab with a "run away." But this is San Francisco, where even residents of popular tourist spots plagued by a rash of break-ins from burglars who brazenly loiter on the street waiting for their marks are told that the cops are "can't keep up with all the reports."
With running out of the equation, bored thieves need to make their own fun or suffer burnout (much in the way I am with this very report). And what's more fun than making the guy you just robbed squirm a little?
At least, that's what I assume a duo of car robbers were thinking at 10 a.m. Wednesday, as a 25-year-old man walked up to his car parked on Laguna Street between Ellis and Geary Boulevard. When the man got to his car, he saw an all-too-familiar sight: Shattered windows, and items including a laptop missing from the car, according to the San Francisco Police Department.
As he was processing the loss, two men described by police only as "in their 20s or 30s" walked up to the victim and told him that if he paid them off, he could get his stuff back.
The man went to an area bank to get the (unspecified by SFPD) cash. After he got the money, the robbers took him into an alley and threatened to shoot him unless he gave them the dough.
After giving them the money, the duo handed over his laptop but hung on to some other items (again, unspecified by SFPD) they'd stolen from his car.
The enterprising thieves fled, and haven't been seen since.
Were these men inspired by, perhaps, local muggers like the ones who robbed Supervisor Scott Wiener for his phone then offered to sell if back to him for $500? Did they think that anyone who left a laptop in a car parked in that area (or, really, anywhere in SF) might be an easy mark for more? Or were they just trying to entertain themselves as they work in the ever-expanding SF car burglary industry?
We'll likely never know. As noted by SF Mag, out of the 25,813 auto burglaries reported to SFPD last year, only 487 ended up with cases that got sent to prosecution. And since (as noted last July) even when thieves are caught, if the items they were taking are worth less than $950 the miscreants aren't arrested, they're just cited. So even those who get nabbed are back on the clock shortly after their nabbing.
And where's the thrill in that?
Previously: Supervisor Wiener Thwarts 'Not A Very Well-Thought-Out' Phone Theft
Neighbors Fight Back After Tourist Hotspot Becomes Car Break-In Zone
Spike In Car Break-Ins Has Many Blaming Prop 47
New Stats Say Gun Violence Down In SF, While Car Break-Ins Continue To Skyrocket