California

Inside Edition thought they’d catch a vehicle break-in. They did — their own

The Bay Area is struggling with vehicle break-ins -- in 2017, there were more than 31,000 reported break-ins, with just 2 percent resulting in arrests, according to SFGate.

It’s gotten to the point where area residents have taken to leaving notes for would-be thieves, begging them not to smash their windows, as revealed in a tweet by ABC7’s Melanie Woodrow.

Enter the TV show Inside Edition.

Reporter Lisa Guerrero led a crew to San Francisco with the intent of using surveillance gear to catch a thief in the act. Instead, the Inside Edition camera crew vehicle ended up being another statistic.

Guerrero used a car loaded with “bait” in the form of a $250 speaker and a purse, both of which were rigged with GPS trackers, according to the Inside Edition video segment.

“And for our last trick, we rigged this car with hidden cameras,” Guerrero told the camera, before leaving the bait parked in San Francisco’s famous Alamo Square.

As Inside Edition footage showed, a man was seen smashing a window and grabbing the purse, which he was seen tossing to a woman who was with him; the man then grabbed the speaker and walked away.

A man who lives nearby, and declined to give his name to Inside Edition, said his own surveillance system caught the burglary in action.

“It all lasted maybe 20 seconds,” he said, according to the Inside Edition video.

Guerrero and her crew then tracked down the man and confronted him.

“5 million people are going to see you steal that,” Guerrero warned the man in the video.

The man set the speaker down and walked away; Guerrero said her team later found the purse in a trash can.

But it was while reviewing surveillance footage of the bait car break-in that Guerrero received an unpleasant revelation, according to the video.

“Hey, wait a second, that car looks familiar. It’s our crew car,” Guerrero said, as she watched footage of a second break-in happening.

“Unbelievably, when we were inside conducting the interview (with the man who lives nearby), thieves came out here and they broke into our crew truck,” Guerrero said in the segment. “And they stole thousands of dollars worth of equipment.”

But if there’s any consolation for Guerrero and her camera crew, at least the thieves didn’t kill their pet Chihuaha.

A San Francisco woman recently was sentenced to three years in prison after she threw a Chihuahua off of a seven-story parking garage to its death after she found it in a vehicle she was breaking into, as McClatchy reported Sept. 7.

Andrew Sheeler: 805-781-7934, @andrewsheeler
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