EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) — Law enforcement across Northern California are trying to track down car burglars going after very specific targets.
“They’re looking for navigational units and stereos to possibly resell,” said the owner of Thompson’s Toyota, Jeff Thompson.
The dealership is the latest victim in a car lot crime wave.
“A band of thieves came in and broke into 65 cars,” Thompson said.
He said more than 60 of the cars were brand new. Window after window smashed over the weekend at Thompson’s Toyota and Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Placerville by thieves.
“It’s really upsetting. It’s just a huge violation, I can’t even explain it. I’ve never had this feeling before ever,” Thompson said shaking his head.
The loss along with fixing all the shattered glass and damaged dashes is a huge expense for this family-run business.
“It’s going to be well over a half million dollars, no doubt,” he said.
Surveillance video shows the thieves had an assembly line process to carry out the crime.
“They came in fast. It took them probably less than two minutes a car,” Thompson said. “Each guy had a job. One guy would break the window, one guy would crawl in to cut the radios out, the other guy would run the radios back to their car and put it in the trunk and then run back.”
Thompson is not alone, dealerships in Auburn and Lodi have also suffered similar crimes.
“It was for sure a planned attack, no doubt,” Thompson said.
Last year, lawmakers considered a bill that would have closed a legal loophole that treats these type of crimes as misdemeanors thefts and would make them felonies instead.
It was supported by law enforcement, but didn’t get enough support to pass.
“The victim doesn’t care whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony. They’ve been violated and they want us to apprehend them and this allows us to do so,” said Officer Jason Jimenez with Elk Grove Police.
Senator Scott Wiener plans to reintroduce a bill this session that would protect vehicle owners and send the thieves to jail.
“In this scenario, these guys need to do some time,” Thompson said.
If the thieves are caught they could be charged with grand theft among many other charges. Call police with any information.