A family with young children visiting the city of San Francisco had their rental car broken into and several valuable items stolen, the latest instance of “smash-and-grab” style robberies throughout the state of California.
According to local news station KRON 4, Kimberly Balde, her sister, Katherine, and her two young children, were in the car when the robbery occurred. They had stopped their car on Lombard Street when a thief smashed the back window and stole her bag, her computer, her sister’s passport, the children’s birth certificates, and other valuables.
“I was in the car when it happened. All I could hear was a smash and then I said no, I jumped out of the car but it was quick. It was five seconds,” Balde told KRON 4.
“You could see people were in the car so each seat was taken and my two daughters were in the back, one’s two and one’s four and it was behind the 4-year-old and like I said, she seen him. He was wearing all black with a black ski mask and she said, ‘that ninja took that bag.’”
A neighbor who witnessed the incident told the outlet that three cars had been circling the area and that they were involved in the crime. The neighbor also shared a picture shared to Twitter by KRON 4.
“Another smash & grab in #SanFrancisco. This time the victims, including 2 toddlers, were inside the van when it happened. The victims visiting from a Chicago say the suspects stole a bag w/ a laptop, headphones, passport & the kid’s birth certificates,” KRON 4 reporter Taylor Bisacky tweeted, along with a photo of a gray Dodge Journey SUV parked on the street and an individual wearing a gray hoodie and sweatpants looking into the rear window of a red minivan.
Another smash & grab in #SanFrancisco. This time the victims, including 2 toddlers, were inside the van when it happened. The victims visiting from a Chicago say the suspects stole a bag w/ a laptop, headphones, passport & the kid’s birth certificates.More tonight on @kron4news pic.twitter.com/31q1BUKjhP
— Taylor Bisacky (@TaylorBisackyTV) December 9, 2021
Balde told the outlet that she believed the theft was another instance of organized “smash-and-grab” robbery. “It’s an organized crime for sure, like, they have it well thought out. It was a five-second deal and if they can get away with it in five seconds why wouldn’t they keep doing it.”
She also said that she was aware of the rash of thefts in the city and had been warned about them. “My cousin said it though from the very beginning, ‘you gotta watch it. They have smash and grabs here.’ Her boyfriend said it. We were extra careful like we were trying to be extra careful, but when you’re not and you do let your guard down. We snoozed. We snoozed. We sure did.”
Fortunately, Balde was prepared and used an Apple AirTag on her laptop to track the location of her bag. Balde has since filed a report with the San Francisco Police Department and informed them of the tracker. As of the publishing of the original article, the GPS locator was still moving and no arrests had been made.
The Mayor of San Francisco recently closed car access to the city’s Union Square shopping district in an effort to curb the rash of organized “smash-and-grab” thefts at retail stores in the city. Among a rash of recent thefts, a mob of about 80 people broke into a Nordstrom outlet in the Bay Area and stole an unknown amount of merchandise, as The Daily Wire reported.
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