car break-ins

Married San Francisco Police Officers Lead Effort to Help Families Hit by Car Break-Ins

"We love helping kids. We love being cops. It was a no-brainer."

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The signs of the car break-in epidemic plaguing San Francisco are scattered all over the city for everyone to see.

Just look for the shattered glass on almost any city block.

San Francisco police Sgt. Rich Jones, though, was seeing a different side of the problem: the people, often tourists, coming to his station to file reports.

"We'd have lines out the door, 20 to 30 people," Jones said.

Many of them were families with children.

"To see them with their kids and see the kids so devastated really spoke to us," Jones said.

The "us" is Jones and his wife, Jennifer Hennessy-Jones, also a sergeant with SFPD.

The two have founded a non-profit, Hunter's Chest, that stocks police stations with toys, diapers, and other supplies for families who are in immediate need after having the belongings stolen.

"You put yourself as a parent in their shoes," Hennessy-Jones said. "What if I'm in a foreign country and don't speak the language? Or everything the child relies on is stolen?"

The couple said it all began because they would often find themselves running to their own car to grab a toy belonging to their older son, Hunter, to cheer the children up.

"At home, we'd have to tell Hunter, 'You know your favorite green monster truck? Well, there was a child who needed it more,'" Hennessy-Jones said.

The couple said Hunter was remarkably understanding. Still, they knew they couldn't just keep giving his toys away, so they began to purchase toys specifically for the purpose of giving them to the children who came to their stations.

Hennessy-Jones said police officers have always been dipping into their own wallets to buy supplies for crime victims. This is just a way to organize and formalize the effort.

Hunter's Chest has now grown to the point they provide toys and supplies to every police station in San Francisco and a growing number outside the city.

Rich and Jennifer hope it spreads even further.

"We'd like to see this go across the country," Jones said.

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