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Crime Down Overall In Lamorinda – BART Parking Lots Continue To Be Hunting Ground For Thieves

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Photo: Axiom Images

Despite downward trending crime statistics reported throughout Lamorinda six months into 2016, locals losing catalytic converters – or cars – in the local BART parking lots are convinced work needs to be done.

Local police confirm reports of at least two catalytic convertor thefts at Orinda BART and two more in Lafayette – with replacements costing victims around $1,800 apiece – and there was also an armed carjacking at Orinda BART Thursday afternoon.

BART police are investigating that incident, which was executed so stealthily Orinda officers only received reports of a car speeding out of the station shortly after the incident was reported at 4 p.m. Thursday.

Officers later learned that the victim had been approached who brandished a firearm and commandeered their SUV, speeding from the area and disappearing before the victim could advise police of the crime. Officers were unable to locate the vehicle despite a wide search, according to Orinda Police Chief Mark Nagel.

Police say catalytic convertor theft is on the rise because they can be sold quickly for the precious metals they contain and are relative easy to access – with thieves favoring garages and parking lots and sliding under cars to do their work.

There are steps that can be taken to help secure the devices but victims, stuck with repair and insurance fees in the wake of theft, say they are hoping for more of a police presence at targeted stations.

Both Moraga and Orinda police chiefs have reported sharp reductions in crime reported in their respective jurisdictions so far this year, with Nagel attributing the 50 percent drop in property crimes, auto burglary and theft from a car to a dedicated crew of officers, good community involvement and heightened awareness by the citizenry – as well as the recently approved use of surveillance cameras in the city.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Any data on the number and rate of reoffenders caught and then released and then caught again?

  2. While BART is a wonderful thing to move people around, it is also a convenient way for criminals to ride in from not-so-good outlying cities into good areas to do their crimes, then either take BART back out or steal a car to get back out.

  3. BART isn’t responsible for most residential burglaries. (That’s why the cameras have been so effective.) It is, however, responsible for many crimes (shoplifting, etc.) against businesses.

  4. Wouldn’t a carjacking in broad daylight at Orinda BART be news? I know the “East Bay Times” has seemingly gone on a Margaret Lesher jet ski ride lately, but they couldn’t even be bothered to report it? Thank God for News 24-680!

  5. Until there’s an actual penalty for those who commit and further these crimes I happen to think they are going to continue.

  6. How much of BARTS proposed $3.5 billion bond measure is earmarked for security at its stations? Thought so.

  7. We’ve had our windows smashed twice in about 10 years. Nothing taken. Amazed they are able to do this so stealthily.

  8. It’s good to read that crime is down in Lamorinda. As far as stiffer penalties, I’m all for it, but I don’t think it makes a difference. Criminals will commit crimes for the same reason the rest of us go to work every day. It’s what they do for a living, and they don’t care about the consequences. If they cared, they wouldn’t commit crimes.

  9. With far fewer resources this site has very quietly moved into the space formerly occupied by leading news organizations. I agree with the previous poster that they cover things of extreme importance to me and to my family that never make it to more traditional outlets. The Flash alerts work and have put our household out ahead of everyone else on at least two news stories in recent months. And they do write you back — which is both refreshing and highly unusual for an organization of this type. Both my wife and I have the site bookmarked and are watching to see where it goes.

  10. We had a rear window smashed and a gym bag taken. Thankfully there was only some sweaty workout equipment in there but the really odd thing about it is they were able to do it without anyone seeing or hearing a thing in broad daylight.

  11. Vicky, you are right there isn’t much penalty for these crimes anymore. Proposition 47 let a lot of people out of jail and it made stealing up to $950 only a misdemeanor. Most don’t even go to jail for more than a day, if at all. Then they go and repeat the action. It’s a shame. And I’m sorry to get political but recently a state government committee was trying to tighten up proposition 47. Ended up the Republicans were for the tightening but the Democrats were not and they won out.. I’m sorry but I have no compassion for these criminals that are preying on all the good people. Let them sit in a crowded jail cell I don’t care.

  12. Blaming Prop 47 is to allow for lazy policing. There’s much more involved here than Prop 47. For example, why do we allow gold recyclers to operate at a much lower standard than pawn shops?

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