One Thief, 125 Handbags

By Lori Preuitt
|  Wednesday, Feb 3, 2010  |  Updated 3:45 PM PDT
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Danville Police

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A routine traffic stop in Danville turned into a bonanza of stolen goods that will have handbag-clutching women across the Bay Area gasping.

Police say the driver stole over 125 stolen purses, not to mention hundreds of other items like laptops, cameras, credit cards and other electronic devices.

They displayed the stolen goods Wednesday.  They say most were crimes of opportunity taken from cars.

"The items that are being stolen are usually in plain view, left on a seat or a console," Danville Police Chief Chris Wenzel said.

The chief said while Danville is a very safe city, he wants to turn the case into a learning tool.  He says everyone needs to be more careful locking their cars and not leave valuables where they can bee seen.

Wenzel warned Danville is beginning to get a reputation with criminals because of the easy availability of items left in vehicles.

"Criminals network and if they find an area where it's 'easy pickings', they’ll keep coming back and bringing more and more of that bad element into town," Wenzel said.

Police say they are fighting back against the wave by getting officers out on the streets.

The chief said using caution can go a long way towards curbing the tide of vehicle burglaries in the San Ramon Valley.

"I know it’s inconvenient and takes a few minutes, but that’s what crime prevention is all about. You want to make it difficult for the criminals to steal," Wenzel said.

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