A trove of at least $2.5 million in stolen merchandise and personal property — some from retail stores and some clearly from car and home break-ins — was recently recovered by the SFPD and other local law enforcement agencies in the bust of a major fencing ring. So if you recently lost a laptop, camera, purse, cellphone, or other item, you might be able to get it back.
The stolen goods were all laid out in a press event Thursday morning, and Interim District Attorney Suzy Loftus, SFPD Chief Bill Scott, CHP Chief Ernie Sanchez, and California DOJ Bureau of Investigation Assistant Director Luis Lopez were among those presenting the items for potential recovery by victims of recent thefts. As KRON 4 reports, authorities are still combing through the items, and some were obviously stolen in petty larcenies like purse-snatchings.
It's unclear whether all of the goods were found simultaneously, but KPIX reports that the trove's discovery came with the bust of local fencing ring. The crackdown involved over 100 officers from state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies, and 30 warrants were issued across the Bay Area.
"What creates an incentive to break into cars and to break into homes is if you can quickly turn whatever you stole into money,” said Loftus at the press conference. "A fencing operation makes that possible. It really fuels the property crime that we are seeing here in San Francisco."
Loftus explained that U.S. Postal Service inspectors also played a role in the bust, because they were able to identify the fencing operation in part because of a large number of packages going out from one location to addresses out of state.
"This a huge deal for our city,” said Scott. "We have people coming from all over the world," Scott continued. "It really sickens me when people come here to visit our great city and they get victimized."
Anyone who believes that a lost item that belongs to them could be part of the trove should call 628-652-4343. If you lost a cellphone or laptop, you will need the International Mobile Equipment Identity, or IMEI, number of the stolen property, which can often be found through cloud services.