Rewards Offered for Info Convicting Auto Burglary Fencing Operators

On Oct. 19, Mayor London Breed informed the community about a privately funded cash reward being offered for info leading to the arrest and conviction of people involved in organized criminal fencing operations behind many vehicle smash-and-grabs.

The new initiative is an essential part of an overall auto burglary strategy that looks to educate motorists and visitors; deter, investigate and arrest auto burglars; and cease the criminal enterprises that traffic in stolen goods and propel street-level auto burglaries, per the mayor’s office. San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) investigations and those of partner Northern California regional law enforcement agencies point to less than a dozen auto burglary crews being responsible for most of the auto burglaries that have beset Bay Area cities of late.

“The frequent auto burglaries in San Francisco are not victimless crimes, they have real financial and emotional consequences for the victims and we’re continuing to work to hold people who commit these crimes accountable,” said Mayor Breed. She added that the break-ins “hurt our residents, especially working families who do not have the time or money to deal with the effects, as well as visitors to our City whose experiences are too often tarnished after an otherwise positive experience.”

The mayor thanked the private sector partners for understanding “the urgency of this issue” and offered a stern warning to the organized groups responsible for the majority of these crimes “that we are committing the resources and the manpower to hold you accountable.”

Private donors in the hospitality and tourism industry are funding the new cash reward system, which the mayor’s office said will offer monetary incentives in exchange for info re: the leaders of organized auto burglary fencing operations. Those providing “accurate and transparent info” will be compensated up to $100,000 pending the arrest and conviction of individuals involved; in all more than $225,000 in funding has been raised to date, said the mayor’s office.

“Organized crime has been driving a lot of the theft in this city,” said Sharky Laguana, president of the Small Business Commission. “The people at the top have been raking in huge sums of money by paying street-level criminals to do all their stealing for them, making working families miserable in the process. This initiative is going to help us take these rings apart."

Throughout recent months, Mayor Breed has announced the strategic deployments of police and community-based ambassadors to, in part, deter property crimes—including auto burglaries—anticipated to accompany renewed economic activity as the city reemerges from pandemic restrictions.

Announced this summer, the mayor’s Tourism Deployment Plan added 26 police officers on bike and foot patrols to high-traffic and highly sought-after travel destinations throughout the city, per the mayor’s office. Officer and community-based partner deployments were also part of the mayor’s Mid-Market Vibrancy and Safety Plan and Organized Retail Crime Initiative.

According to Mayor Breed’s office, “The combined emphasis on high-visibility patrols in areas long targeted by auto burglars has been instrumental in reducing auto burglary rates—even as tourism and economic activity begin returning to pre-pandemic levels.”

In unison with the mayor’s efforts, the SFPD has also doubled down on its “Park Smart” public awareness campaign in recent months—a collaboration between the department, SF SAFE, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the Department of Emergency Management, the Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District and local tourism and travel partners.

SFPD CompStat data for the week ending Oct. 17, 2021, show that a total of 358 auto break-ins were committed in San Francisco, which is a drop of 37 percent from the July 4 holiday, said the mayor’s office, pointing to the success of the Tourism Deployment Plan to date.

Those with info are asked to call the SFPD Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with “SFPD.” Although callers may remain anonymous, eligibility for rewards for information leading to arrests and convictions of offenders requires individuals to identify themselves to SFPD investigators.

Learn more about this initiative here.