Burglary-Avoidance Tip: Don’t Leave The Garage Door Opener In Your Parked Car


Hypothetical scenario: You park your car on a Bernal Heights street with a shiny set of your house keys tucked beneath the visor or stashed in the glovebox.

Sound insane? Completely daft? Does that hypothetical scenario generate a visceral sense of foreboding and anxiety?

Good! It should! Because it’s totally nuts! After all, we all know that if someone broke into your car, they would also get your house keys. And once they have your your house keys, they can also rob your house. Obviously.

Yet that’s also why it’s a very bad idea to leave a remote garage door opener in your parked car. Neighbor Miranda writes:

I just want to have the people of Bernal know that my home on Gates and Powhattan was almost robbed this week.  The would-be thieves pried my roommates back window of his truck open and stole the garage door opener.  That is all they took.  They didn’t “smash and grab”, they had a mission to invade our home.  They tested the opener at about 3am  — the door opened then closed.  They then returned about 2 hours later and opened the garage again.  My roommate who heard it the first time was still up, he came out with a flash light and they took off in a red hatchback.

This seems like a whole new way to break in.  Just stealing garage door openers from cars that no one is likely to miss until its too late.

Exactly! It’s a trend, even.

Just yesterday Bernalwood received this alert from Capt. Tim Falvey from the SFPD’s Ingleside Station:

I don’t know if you saw our newsletter’s crime alert, but we had a couple of auto boostings in the Precita Park area where the suspect used the garage door opener to access the garage. The suspect then entered the garage and stole the victim’s bicycle. The same thing just happened on the 100 block of Elsie over the weekend. Please advise people that they should be mindful of garage doors opening at unusual hours. People shouldn’t leave their house keys in the car (registration paperwork has the address), and the garage door opener is as good as a key.

Captain Tim Falvey

So there you have it. Remove the damn garage door opener from your street-parked car, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

25 thoughts on “Burglary-Avoidance Tip: Don’t Leave The Garage Door Opener In Your Parked Car

  1. I had a garage once, now its just a room i cant walk into full of pickle jars. On another note, i have a friend whos landlord gave him a set of keys with the address embossed on them. Now thats dumb.

  2. Interesting. My garage door opener was stolen about a year ago. Obviously, if this happens – change frequency so they can’t get in once you notice its missing.

  3. Try donating everything in the garage to a charity. When someone tries to steal everything it’ll be empty. :0

  4. If you have a newfangled garage-door opener, you can also lock the opener so that it doesn’t respond to the remotes.

  5. We had a single bike stolen by garage door access a week ago Sunday. Then after reprogramming the remotes(replacement of the stolen one), they returned this past Tues am, broke a window on the car on the street for the remote, and came into the garage, while we were home, and stole 3 bikes.

      • In the first instance, our garage door opened, then closed only-they came back later in the morning to steal one bike; I hadn’t noticed the missing remote until that morning. In the second instance, after reprogramming the remote(s), the car window on the street was smashed, and the new remote taken for access to three bikes-presumably they had taken note of the bikes on the previous theft.
        Currently on high security lock down, bruised, but not beaten. SFPD issued “criminal alerts” on cars recently, cleverly disguised as what appear to be parking tickets. Don’t let this happen to you!

  6. Reblogged this on FOREST KNOLLS and commented:
    This warning comes from the excellent Bernalwood neighborhood blog … but as more people are parking outside, I thought it’s something our neighborhood should also be aware of. I’m reblogging it here with permission from Bernalwood. (Thanks!)

  7. Todd, A nod to you for the good job pointing out, without sounding too snarky, how reckless it is to leave a door remote in one’s car. My only surprise is that anyone was surprised about the burglars after giving them keys to their home. (Well, I am a little surprised that the burglars “break in” when folks are home.)

  8. Hi guys, this just happened to me on Norwich street near Bernal Heights. We heard our garage door open at 3.30am, wondering what happened. Turns out they broke into our car, found the clicker, and then stole our bikes.

  9. Happened to us last night. Crooks got opener out of car and stole kids bike. All locked up tight now, but where should we keep the garage door opener?

  10. Take your opener out of your car when you get out of it! You only need it when you are in the car so if your not in the car, it doesnt need to be either. Pick it up just like you pick up your keys and wallet before you leave you house and take it back in the house when you return. Its pretty simple

    • It’s a bit of a “doi” moment. Though stupid, we were lucky more stuff didn’t get stolen.

  11. Same thing happened at our house justlast night. Smashed the window of my sisters car to get garage opener. However, the garage opener didnt work because the garage door is broken, but it shuts properly from the inside. Somehow they saw the weakness there and were able to get it opened (at around 4am). The dog woke my sister but she thought it was just another cat crossing the road she was barking at. They took my bike too, and appears nothing else, this happened in Noe Valley 3/18

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  15. Lately this has been happening to us.. Just last night after my mother closed the garage door, she found it opened this morning and was asking me all sorts of questions wondering why it was opened. I feel as if it’s a malfunction .. but i just tested that and now is of suspicion that people are checking the hours of which we are sleeping. The problem for them .. Is that it’s summer for me and I’m up til the wee hours of morning and then some. Should I look out for people while I do my observation?

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