Serial car thieves hit Burlingame 

Burglars have been breaking into cars and stealing electronic devices on a few specific city streets since Halloween, police say, but it may be a problem that dates back further.

At least 11 people have reported electronic items such as laptops and GPS devices stolen from their cars this week, Burlingame police Sgt. Jim Ford said. The crimes have mostly occurred on the 1200 block of Bernal Avenue near Broadway and the 2600 block of Martinez Drive, between Mills-Peninsula Health Services and Mills Canyon Park, Ford said.

But Lisa Disco, who lives on Martinez, said burglars broke into her Ford truck and stole cash, a camera and other items two years ago. Her neighbor across the street also had her car broken into and her purse and makeup nabbed two months ago, she said. Around that same time, her husband’s truck was broken into but nothing of value was inside, she said.

"It’s been going on for a while," Disco said. "The neighbors who just moved in got hit and they thought they had moved into this really nice neighborhood."

Police have stepped up patrol in the area, Ford said, but do not appear close to nabbing the suspect or suspects. They have no idea how many people are committing these crimes, what they look like or why they are targeting these two neighborhoods 1½ miles apart, he said.

In addition to increased patrol, police have discussed possibly staking out the areas at night, when the break-ins occur, he said. They also have been dusting for prints off the cars, Ford said.

People who park on those streets need to keep all valuables out of their cars and lock their doors, he said.

"A lot of the time, these are crimes of opportunity and people will see a GPS unit or laptop and say, ‘Wow, it’s time to break in,’" Ford said. "If they don’t see anything in the car, they tend to move on."

The burglaries were a rude awakening for those who moved to Burlingame for its safe reputation.

"You think you live in a nice neighborhood, but you definitely worry about every little thing now," said Disco, whose street does not have a neighborhood watch program.

Another area where auto burglaries have risen recently is the 1700 block of Rollins Road, Ford said.

He urged information on these suspects to be called into the Burlingame Police Department at (650) 777-4140.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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