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Laptops Stolen From South L.A. Youth Group Attending Oakland Tech Summit

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- A youth group from South Los Angeles attending a tech conference in Oakland were victims of a vehicle burglary. And when the victims asked for help, police were nowhere to be found.

On Sunday afternoon, a young man broke the back window of an SUV parked on Broadway near the Kapor Center for Social Impact in Oakland. He walked off with one backpack and his buddy grabbed two more.

The victims had three laptops in those bags.

They called 911 hoping officers would search for a man in a unique jacket.

Instead, they say a dispatcher told them they didn't have enough officers to respond to burglaries.

Ciglar said they even explained to police that they had video of the suspects, but the dispatchers said they would have to file a report online.

The break in happened in front of Frank Ciglar's business and surveillance camera.

Ciglar says the lack of police response makes it tough to do business.

Ciglar said, "Every time we get a new customer and their car gets broken into, they're not going to come back."

Kapor Center security guard Pathena Chase comforted the youth group leader.

Chase said this was one of six car break-ins within two blocks on Sunday afternoon.


Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney represents downtown Oakland and her son's car was broken into on the same day.

McElhaney said, "Often the resources in our area are redeployed and those are decisions made above my captain's level. I want to make sure my chief, the mayor are dedicating resources so we can reduce victimization."

Several years ago, Oakland assigned one part-time officer to investigate all burglaries. Now, they say they have more officers investing break-ins but they won't say how many.

They say officers on Tuesday arrested a suspected burglar nearby.

There is some good news Oakland's auto break-ins have dropped by 18-percent so far this year.

Oscar Menjivar, the CEO and founder of Exploring Technology, drove up with a handful of students from South Los Angeles for a tech conference at the Kapor Center for Social Impact.

Exploring Tech is a non-profit organization that teaches and encourages low-income kids in South Los Angeles to work in the tech industry.

"It was supposed to be a positive experience," he said.

Menjivar says someone also cashed two checks taken from his bag.

Antoinette Reyes with the Kapor Center said, "He was so excited to be in Oakland and this is how we greeted him. It's upsetting."

Menjivar says he was surprised Oakland police wouldn't respond to the break-in.

"Even in South Central [L.A.], the police respond to break-ins and burglaries," Menjivar said.

He says the kids are resilient, they've gone through worse experiences and will bounce back from this.

Oakland police are investigating the break-in, but Menjivar says he doesn't expect to ever get those laptops back.

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