Smash-and-Grab Thefts Plague Good Life Parking Lot


Memo to the wise: If you park your car in the Good Life parking lot on the corner of Cortland and Andover, don’t leave anything — anything! — in the car when you dash into the grocery.  The Good Life parking lot has been the site of many smash-and-grab thefts lately, and many a sad Bernalese have returned to their cars to find a window shattered and valuables missing.

There’s reason to believe that many of the break-ins at the Good Life parking lot have been done by a small group of repeat offenders. On Feb. 16, Neighbor Darcy reported:

There were two smash and grab type break ins at in the Good Life parking lot last week. This is the 4th time in two weeks that the same car with the same license plate has broken into cars there. It is often folks that stop at the store to quickly get something for the road and come back to a broken window and their stuff gone.

Because it is so frequent I spoke with the officers on the scene. These break ins have been happening frequently for years. The crimes are targeted to cars with goods in them. Empty cars do not get hit. The car drives up smashes the window, and flees. The car is a white honda with the front bashed in and a sun roof. The license plate is 7CDE452

A few days later, Neighbor Darcy shared this follow-up:

The white Honda returned to the Good Life parking lot, and someone recognized it and took a picture of the driver which made him drive away. And the picture did not turn out. We called the police and reported it. A van was broken into again today by another smash and grab vehicle. The crime vehicle is suspected to be a green BMW that was parked in the lot. … will keep you posted re this recent sweep of car break ins-Capt McFadden has been very proactive and communicative.”

SFPD Ingleside has reviewed security camera footage received from Good Life, and they add this detail:

An investigator’s been assigned, and has the Good Life video and car license plate. The same car’s been involved in break-ins at Mitchell’s Ice Cream and in in the Haight.

Unfortunately, the Good Life break-ins have already created a much sadness for Neighbor Maeve from Ellsworth, a young Bernal resident who was poised to embark on a big adventure with her sister and a friend:

This March, my sister, Sean, best friend, Stephanie, and I will set out for 5 months to hike The Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,650 mile long footpath that crosses California, Oregon, and Washington.

Everything was all set, until last Friday. On February 12th 2016, we left our San Francisco neighborhood, Bernal Heights, for a weekend-long backpacking trip. In the five minutes it took us to grab sandwiches from Good Life Grocery, our car was broken into. We came back to find smashed windows, broken glass, and only two backpacks. Stephanie’s brand new pack, filled with all of her gear, as well as a bulk of Sean’s and my own, was stolen. A few days ago we found out our insurance policies will not cover any of our loss.

Neighbor Maeve has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help replace their lost gear. Please donate if you’re so inclined.

Meanwhile, the SFPD is hopeful that they will make an arrest soon. And most obviously, don’t leave anything in your car when you park in the Good Life parking lot.

PHOTO: The window the van that was carrying Neighbor Maeve’s backpack, Feb. 12, 2016.

16 thoughts on “Smash-and-Grab Thefts Plague Good Life Parking Lot

  1. With this many break-ins, would it be asking the store too much to post a permanent security guard back in the parking lot? Seems like common sense to me.

    • Even safeway doesn’t have a guard most of the time. If there is one, they usually stand by the door.
      This city is now rich enough with the increased property tax collection that there should be a foot patrol on every neighborhood’s main drag. The fact that this city still has a way understaffed police department is a crime in itself. What the captain say? 1,700 when we are supposed to have 2000 based on 1970 numbers. Something close to that.

      • I do think the policing based on number of residents thing is sort of a distraction. I mean, I know agencies always need to advocate for more staffing and funding, but shouldn’t it be based on crime rates and the lower crime rates should free up officers for things like targeted patrols? Even with the smash and grabs of the last year, the crime rate is way below what it was 20, 30 and 40 yrs ago. Our homicide rate is half of what it was just 10 yrs ago and yet the police still can’t do any foot patrols in these known problem locations. They have the car, the license plate number and still can’t do anything? Come on.

      • Funny how departments like Rec and Park were asked by Lee to cut their budget by 1.5% this year. Seems like the rich are keeping their wealth to themselves. Or maybe they’re just funding the Twitter tax breaks.

  2. Of course, this is happening all over the city. My partner had his window smashed after 5 minutes. The key is to leave NOTHING in the car. If you don’t take out everything for caution, then do it out of spite!

  3. Also, be sure you have home owner’s or renter’s insurance for those items that are stolen from your car. Car insurance will not do anything for items stolen from the car. They will fix the car, but not get your items replaced.

  4. WHERE ARE THE NEIGHBORS? The parking lot is in plain view and the corner is rife with people all day and most of the evening. Did NOBODY see this happening? Did NOBODY see people looking suspiciously at cars in the lot? The key is NOT more police or more security cameras — those are all after-the-fact feel-goods. The key is to catch the people before they steal. That can only be done when people actively protect their neighborhood.

    With all the hundreds of people (I assume) on this list, did nobody here see anything suspicioius? Did nobody see anything amiss? That’s hard to believe.

    • I parked just after the girls returned, two vans were hit. it was midday Friday President’s weekend, Cortland was quiet and definitely not in busy mode as you might expect. The thieves must have a lookout, either at the Library corner seats or in one of the building near by, Frank from GL suggests that one of the buildings opposite is vacant. I very much doubt that a thief would take any chances with people about, they must plan the timing of the day and vehicle quite carefully and quickly. I was quite shocked to be honest as it was a sunny normal Bernal weekday.

  5. I’d like to see some stings where the cops have a dummy car with stuff in it, then arrest the thieves immediately. If they do this throughout the city at all times of the day/night, thieves will start to think twice about breaking into cars.

  6. I hate to pile onto a crappy situation but you have an SUVs/van with 3 backpacks probably worth around $200 apiece plus cooking gear ($150)/sleeping bags ($450)/a tent ($200) etc. and 3 able bodied people (perhaps 2) and you couldn’t send in one person to place a sandwich order? Where’s the common sense???

    • It was common sense that made them lock up their valuables (on a seemingly friendly street, in the middle of the day, for five minutes) while purchasing sandwiches. Those actions were a direct result of common sense.

  7. Pingback: Summary Notes from the Feb. 25 Community Safety Meeting at BHNC | Bernalwood

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