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Burglary suspects roam San Francisco's Marina District looking for victims

Residents in San Francisco's Marina District plagued by roving burglars
Residents in San Francisco's Marina District plagued by roving burglars 02:35

SAN FRANCISCO -- Marina District resident John Carter first noticed his motorcycle went missing as he was leaving for work. 

So he took matters into his own hands, seeking out surveillance video from neighboring homes.

The first sign of trouble appeared on a camera just after midnight last Wednesday, October 5. It showed someone wearing a motorcycle helmet riding an electric scooter on Divisadero across the street from his home. That person re-appears about 10 minutes later riding his stolen motorcycle. 

Shortly after that, an SUV pulls up and picks up the scooter, which was dumped after the first person hot-wired the motorcycle.

Carter decided to do his own detective work and track down his stolen motorcycle, which is typically parked in the street near his home.

He pieced together a timeline of the thief's route on his bike from several different cameras. Videos also showed the SUV trailing the burglar.

Carter found his motorcycle less than two days later a few blocks away, stripped of parts and abandoned outside an auto body shop on Lombard and Broderick Streets.

"I was scared because I thought the criminals or the thieves could still be around, I called 911 and wanted to get officers on the scene for my protection and also for my motorcycle's protection," said Carter. "I was transferred to the non-emergency line, and told officers would come whenever they had availability. I ran over to the Palace of Fine Arts where an officer was stationed, monitoring smash and grabs over there, and told him about my situation and he told me he couldn't leave his post."

Carter waited 3 hours for officers to take his initial report. He waited another 4.5 hours, after he found his own motorcycle, which no longer starts.

"I was shocked and I just think when the police aren't around people kind of work to solve their own problems, that's what we did," he said. "People are really fed up, everybody has a story at this point." 

In fact, just two weeks ago, KPIX 5 covered multiple burglaries at his neighbor's garage, where two theives appeared to return 3 times in one night. They stole power tools, luggage, and a pricey tripod. Ultimately, one suspect drove off with the family's car.

"I think it's just one of the most disturbing things I found out over the last two weeks is that every single night there are people prowling this area looking for opporunitites, and we're kind of left to fend for ourselves here," Carter said.   

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