Danville Express

Newsfront - January 12, 2007

Cops find stolen electronics

by Natalie O'Neill

A graveyard-shift sheriff's deputy at the Valley Station recently aided in the recovery of thousands of dollars of stolen electronics, Alamo Deputy Elmer Glasser said.

The deputy pulled over a vehicle for a separate charge and recovered several suspicious items during the vehicle inventory, some of which was property stolen from Alamo residents.

"The Valley Station was able to complete a search warrant based on the vehicle stop and ongoing criminal information," Glasser said.

During the search, a stolen Global Positioning System devise, cell phone and other electronic goods were found and then returned to the Alamo residents.

Electronics theft is up in the Bay Area and some speculate it may be related to the abundance of iPods and laptop computers that were received as gifts during the holidays. In San Francisco, for example, electronic theft is up at Internet cafes and coffee shops that offer wireless Internet.

Now, in Alamo and around the country, property crimes and electronic theft is something people should be more aware of, Glasser said.

Keeping electronics with you, locking cars and garage doors, and closing shades are some of the ways to prevent being a victim of electronic property theft in Alamo, Glasser said.

"These simple things can greatly reduce crimes of opportunity. Don't be paranoid, just be careful," he said.

County Property Crimes Sgt. Kevin Daley said GPS devises are commonly stolen out of cars in affluent areas. Victims often have stuck the devises to their car dashboard to track where they are driving and then forgotten to bring them inside after parking, he said.

"Thieves will steal anything that's not locked down. They take them out of cars like candy," Daley said.

Since the technology is somewhat new and still pricey, most stolen systems have been reported in upscale areas, he said.

When reporting stolen items to police, it's important to have a record of the serial number of an electronic item and its make and model, Glasser said. This increases the likelihood that stolen property will be returned to you.

"I tell people to take a picture of their new electronics so they can provide an accurate description of it," Glasser said.

An Alamo resident who witnessed the property crime reported a description of the vehicle to the county sheriff, which helped bring police closer to finding their neighbor's GPS devise.

Glasser encourages anyone who witnesses a property crime to be as detailed as possible when recounting descriptions of suspects and vehicles. He used the example of someone reporting a white car with its make and model; if the witness added that there was a missing hubcap it would make catching the suspect easier for officers.

"Start from the top down - look for what makes the physical description of a person or the vehicle stand out," Glasser said.

Overall, in Alamo in 2006 property crimes have gone down, thanks to the S.A.V.E.S. volunteer program, Glasser said. S.A.V.E.S. is group of volunteers in Alamo who have circulated fliers to educate residents on how to think like a thief - in order to avoid being a victim of one.


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