Add a new location to your list of places you can get your car stolen in SF: the SFPD impound lot. Though SFPD maintains that leaving the keys in an impounded car is a common practice, a recent theft victim believes that tactic may have led to the theft of his car.
As ABC7 reports, Rick Wilson’s 1986 Ford Mustang was impounded when he was detained following a brawl at a Fell and Divisadero gas station.
Post-fight, Wilson was taken to SFPD’s Park Station while his car was taken to Auto Return on Pier 70. Typically, Auto Return is protected by armed guards and a security gate. Those exiting with a vehicle must provide paperwork before being allowed to exit the premises.
Yet, somehow, known auto thief Antolin Marenco was discovered with Wilson’s car at O’Reilly Auto Parts on Bayshore Boulevard. During his attempt to flee, Marenco reportedly struck two vehicles and a pole, almost completely totaling Wilson’s car.
SFPD says they believe that Marenco gained entry to Auto Return during a public auction the same day of the theft. Meanwhile, Wilson never faced any charges in the fight for which he was originally detained, and is driving a rental car provided by his insurance company.
Wilson tells ABC7 that he still believes that by leaving keys in cars, SFPD and the impound lot helped enable the thief.
“It leaves room, an opportunity for criminals to steal things easier.”