Samaritan returns French tourists' stolen luggage 

Every time Kirill Semenov jogs along Fulton Street between the Great Highway and Stanyan Street, he counts the number of cars that have been burglarized.

"I once counted 11 broken windows," the 44-year-old Outer Richmond district resident said.

Usually, there isn't much Semenov can do for the victims other than empathize with them — his vehicle also has been broken into in the area.

But on June 23, while Semenov was jogging near Fulton Street and 24th Avenue, he found two pieces of luggage with airline tags attached to them. Instead of jogging past, he went to lengths to find their owners.

And now two French tourists, one of whom had left identification in one of the bags, are eternally grateful for the San Franciscan's kindness.

The incident unfolded the night before when two French couples who had been visiting cousins in The City left their vehicle on Clement Street between 23rd and 24th avenues. When they returned to the car about 1:30 a.m., glass was everywhere and three of their bags were gone, said Annie Nunan, a friend of the tourists.

The bags contained a computer, camera, clothing, driver's license, and even sand and seashells that one of the tourists had collected during six months of travel in South America, Nunan said.

"They never had a bad experience in six months until [the auto burglary]," Nunan said.

Semenov was just starting his Sunday jog when he came across the luggage. Rather than leave them, he lugged the bags a dozen blocks to his home, then later returned to the site to pick up more of the victims' discarded items. He then got on the phone with multiple governmental agencies in the Lake Geneva region of France hoping to find the victims.

The government agencies were closed and told him to call Monday morning, so he set his alarm for midnight — accounting for the time difference — and called.

An official at the local City Hall called one of the victim's parents, who then called Semenov and gave him their daughter's cellphone number. The victims were in Monterey at the time and immediately came up to retrieve their belongings.

Nunan said she and the French visitors have made a friend for life in Semenov.

"He went through a lot of trouble," Nunan said.

Semenov said he helped because he could "feel the loss" — and that it was "an opportunity to brush up a little on my French."

Auto burglars in the area are hardly professionals, Semenov said. When they broke into his truck, he said, they cut themselves on the glass and didn't take anything.

"They spilled their blood over the first-aid kit but they didn't take the kit," he said.

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