Rental Cars Targeted by Burglars

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    NEWSLETTERS

    San Mateo police say burglars are targeting rental cars because of the possibility there are valuable electronics carried by traveling business people. George Kiriyama reports. (Published Thursday, Jul 18, 2013)

    Be careful If you're driving a rental car along the Peninsula.

    San Mateo police are looking for thieves who are targeting rentals and then breaking into them.

    "If someone is in town on business that particular day, they are probably keeping some kind of portable electronic devices with them," Sgt. Dave Norris said. "Keeping identification and maybe some cash on them."

    That's exactly what thieves were looking for when they smashed the windows of seven rental cars inside the Central Parking Garage in Downtown San Mateo last week. Police say the crooks are also popping trunks open to get at what's inside.

    "They're taking a chance and they're looking into the trunks. Which is sort of an escalation of a crime that we've haven't seen before," Norris said.

    Police say the seven rental cars are part of a growing problem on the Peninsula in the last couple of weeks. It's news that business travelers do not want to hear.

    "It's very disturbing that you come into town and that you have to worry about your stuff that's been stolen in your rental car," Alex Kidd said as he waited for his rental car. "So you got be a little careful."
     
    Investigators say the break-ins appear to be the work of groups who are targeting shopping centers and parking garages. Any area with a huge concentration of cars. Police say thieves like rental cars because travelers tend to keep things in their cars more than those who live in town. Cleveland businessman Lou Licata is in the Bay Area for a meeting. He says usually keeps his briefcase in his rental car, but he's thinking twice now. 

    "I might leave, I might take out something out of the briefcase, but leave the briefcase in, but I will take it in for sure now," Licata said.