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How to Fence Stolen Goods in San Francisco

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Goodmorning, dirtbags.

Are you having trouble fencing your new-and-used, stolen laptops? Well, look no further!  Here in the Bay Area, we have a one-stop shop for all things larceny.   It’s called the parked car “smash n’ grab-international fencing operation”, and you better hurry, because this type of crime is going fast!

Here is your guide to stealing valuables and selling them in San Francisco!

Stolen phones and Laptops fenced in San Francisco and recovered by authorities.  Seriously though, there are hundreds of stolen items that have been recovered, and they are just sitting in boxes now.  If you’ve been ripped off in the past, and want your stuff back, it could be worth your time to check.  Go to www.sfdistrictattorney.org/auto-pilot Image via SF District Attorney’s Office.

1.How to Steal From Cars

The easiest and safest way to get stolen goods in San Francisco is from parked cars.  Automobile ‘smash and grabs’ are by far the most common types of crime committed in our fair city.   The SFPD categorizes this as Larceny Theft, and since January 1, 2022 there have been 10,603 reported cases of “Larceny Theft” in San Francisco this year, and we are only in May.

To put that in perspective, we are averaging over 80 incidents of theft a day in SF, and those are just the ones being reported!  In 2021, fewer than 1% of these types of crimes were solved!  (See the crime stats on the SFPD crime dashboard here.)  And this is nothing new, SF has had a car ‘smash and grab’ problem for decades.

Cars with valuables visible from the outside, parked in low lighting, and rental cars, are common targets for auto ‘smash and grabs’.


2. Avoid stealing from SFPD ‘bait’ cars

On May 10th, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced that his office busted an auto burglary fencing operation, “Operation Bulldog,” which resulted in the recovery of about 1,000 stolen electronics items, including phones, cameras, and laptops.  SFPD arrested Quoc Le, 41 and charged him with 8 counts of felony and 4 counts of misdemeanor possession of stolen property.

This is really bad news for dirtbags who want to fence their stolen goods.

Authorities tracked a stolen laptop from one of these bait cars using the electronic tracking device. This led District Attorney investigators to a known fence, Quoc Le, who took possession of the bait laptop in a parking lot. Using the tracker, investigators then followed the item back to Mr. Le’s business establishment, a boba tea shop. Over the following days, they followed the stolen goods from Mr. Le’s establishment to Fed Ex and tracked it through the delivery process.

“Breaking up the fencing rings that drive property crimes is critical to reducing property crime rates in San Francisco. The District Attorney’s Office’s Operation Auto Pilot is an innovative program to use rental cars as bait, and I am delighted that it has delivered such a meaningful result,” said Sharky Laguana, President of the American Rental Car Association.  “A major outlet for stolen goods is now shut down. We thank the District Attorney’s Office for their partnership and look forward to continuing to work together on this important issue.”


3.  find a new place to Fence your stolen laptops

DA prosecutors told the press Tuesday that there’s a boba tea shop in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood suspected to be a front for the international fencing operation.  ‘Quickly’ on Larkin st, is where car burglars were allegedly selling stolen goods before the property is shipped off to countries like Vietnam and China.   (Read the full DA press release here).

Le’s wife owns the Quickly bubble tea cafe in the TL.   Le’s wife was not charged with a crime, prosecutors said.


4. Avoid Chesa Boudin and Sharky Laguana

I know what you’re thinking, “those are pretty cool nicknames for street-level crime fighters in a comic book”.  But I promise you, those are the real names of our District Attorney and the President of the SF Small Business Commission, respectively.   ‘Chesa’ and ‘Sharky’ are definitely two guys you want to avoid if you’re selling stolen goods in San Francisco.

“Breaking up the fencing rings that drive property crimes is critical to reducing property crime rates in San Francisco. The District Attorney’s Office’s Operation Auto Pilot is an innovative program to use rental cars as bait, and I am delighted that it has delivered such a meaningful result,” said Sharky Laguana, President of the American Rental Car Association.  “A major outlet for stolen goods is now shut down. We thank the District Attorney’s Office for their partnership and look forward to continuing to work together on this important issue.”

“Car break-ins have been a longstanding problem in San Francisco for at least the past decade; I created Operation Auto Pilot to take aggressive action against the fencing networks responsible for so much property crime,” said District Attorney Boudin. “I commend our Special Investigations team that worked tirelessly for over a year to set up multiple sting operations to track the path of stolen goods, resulting in today’s arrest and the recovery of over 130 file boxes full of stolen electronic devices. We hope that this sends a strong message to deter anyone considering breaking into a car or buying stolen goods: we are watching, and you will be held accountable.”


5.  Don’t forget to Recover your stolen goods

The District Attorney’s Office is working to identify the original owners of devices recovered. If you were the victim of property crime in San Francisco, please go to www.sfdistrictattorney.org/auto-pilot and fill out the form with your information for cross-referencing with the devices recovered.

Seriously though, there are hundreds of stolen items that have been recovered, and they are just sitting in boxes now.  If you’ve been ripped off in the past, and want your stuff back, it could be worth your time to check.

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

I'm the managing editor here at Broke-Ass Stuart. I enjoy covering Bay Area News as well as writing about Arts, Culture & Nightlife.

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5 Comments

  1. Mark
    May 11, 2022 at 7:57 pm — Reply

    I think it’s important to note that the bait cars are not from the SFPD, because they don’t actually care about property crime. They were Boudin’s bait cars.

  2. Owen
    May 13, 2022 at 10:06 am — Reply

    Thanks BAS. Good information about recovery of stolen property. Tweeted on twatter

  3. Janet Flemer
    May 13, 2022 at 10:33 pm — Reply

    The same Sharky that was in Creeper Lagoon?!

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