Pleasanton Weekly

News - December 2, 2011

Car thefts show recent jump

Thieves choosing Acuras and Hondas

by Glenn Wohltmann

Car thefts in Pleasanton have spiked recently, with Hondas and Acuras being targeted more for what's inside than the car itself.

Those cars are being stolen, then dumped a few blocks away, said Pleasanton police Sgt. Kurt Schlehuber, who suspects thieves are using shaved keys.

"My explanation when people do that, the real purpose is to steal items from the car but they don't want to do it at the house," Schlehuber said. "The cars and the years they were taken, it's very easy to use a shaved key ... it takes a few seconds."

A shaved key has been filed or ground down and often works on older model Japanese cars where the locks are worn.

Nine cars were reported stolen between Nov. 9 and Nov. 28.

The recent trend targeting Acuras and Hondas is a bit different than the usual thefts.

"The other ones just seem to be car thefts. They seem to be recovered in the usual places: Modesto, Stockton, some in Hayward or Oakland. They end up headed over the hill in either direction," Schlehuber said.

The Vintage Hills neighborhood has been a popular target for the thefts, as has Stoneridge Shopping Center.

He said there may have been a recent jump, but for the year, the total number of thefts is consistent with past years.

"I noticed that we were having some more," Schlehuber said, adding, "On average for the year, we're very close to where we were last year."

In 2010, 83 vehicles were reported stolen in Pleasanton. By comparison, in 2010, Livermore police reported 151 vehicle thefts, Dublin had 72, and San Ramon had 76.

Auto theft numbers have trended down over the last five years, with 95 stolen in 2009, 114 in 2008, 133 in 2007, and 141 in 2006.

Given the time of year, more cars are likely to be chosen for break-ins than thefts, prompting Schlehuber to give what's become an annual warning about presents and cars.

"A lot of stuff has been taken from cars at the mall since Thanksgiving," he said. "Don't leave packages in you car. Don't drop them off and go back in the mall."

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