Stephen Ellison

Burglars Targeting Immigrants' Homes in San Rafael: Police

Police in San Rafael said a recent spike in burglaries in the city's Canal District may be targeting a mostly immigrant community, and they fear some victims aren't calling police.

Police are working to get the word out about the rash of burglaries. They believe thieves are trying apartment doors and finding some that are not locked. Once inside. the thieves turn things upside down looking for cash.

"It's probably a numbers game," police spokesman Dan Fink said. "If they try enough doors, they're gonna find doors unsecured."

Burglars have ransacked eight apartments in just over a month, stealing valuables and cash, police said. Many people who live in the Canal District are immigrants and don't use banks, they said.

Neighbors say the thefts can be crippling.

"It upsets the family," resident Marina Lopez said. "It could be rent money."

Police worry there may be more victims who are not reporting the crimes.

"Their rent is due, they send it back to their home country, to families. A loss like this is devastating," Fink said. "In this climate, they're scared to report this to us."

On the home page of a neighborhood group called the Canal Alliance, there is information about immigrants' rights and rumored ICE raids. Lopez says many of her neighbors are afraid of the police.

"They think the police are working with ICE," she said.

San Rafael police are working to let people know they are in the community to help, and they're stepping up patrols hoping to find the burglars.

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