Wheel Thefts Leave Bernal Cars Stranded on Blocks



This week, Bernal neighbors are reporting a mini-wave of property crimes involving the theft of wheels from late-model cars. Three such incidents are now confirmed. Neighbor Brian was a victim:

I found my car up on blocks with the wheels stolen on April 16. I wondered if you’ve heard other reports of this. I’ve filed a police report but haven’t spoken with a detective yet. My car was parked on Eugenia @ Elsie.

Yuck. And yes, we are hearing other reports of this. Neighbor Peter says:

There seems to be a rash of car wheel thefts happening in Bernal Heights. I woke to a neighbor in front of my house yesterday with one wheel missing from her car. She seemed really bummed about it. I then saw several postings on Nextdoor from Bernal folks who have had not one but two wheels stolen off their cars in the past few days. I think people should be on the lookout for this crappy new form of crime in Bernal Heights.

The one I saw outside my house yesterday was on the 300 block of Coleridge, between Cortland and Kingston Sts. It makes you wonder what the total number might actually be.

The grey BMW is on the 400 Block of Eugenia, the red Hyundai is on the 300 block of Franconia.

In the case of the grey BMW and the red Hyundai, both wheels from one side of the car were taken; the wheels on the other side were left in place.

UPDATE: That sad red Hyundai belongs to Neighbor Sarah, who tells us how it took a village for her to get back on the road:

I saw my poor red Hyundai on your story about stolen wheels. She’s all fixed now, with new wheels and tires, and LOCKING lug nuts on all wheels. Deciding if I should get new hubcaps for the new tires or not.

And to add insult to injury, my battery died this morning and the car wouldn’t start. AAA to the rescue again!

Thanks to all the Franconia and Samoset St. neighbors who came up to me as I stood next to my disabled car on the phone and offered kind words and support, and for looking through camera footage. To Mission Tires for quickly getting me some new hoops, rotating the tires, and putting the locking lug nuts on the older wheels. My housemate Kelly for letting me borrow her car so I could go to O’Reilly’s for lug nuts, and the O’Reilly’s staff for listening to my sob story. My friend Molly for driving me to and from Mission Tires, and helping me unload them. And AAA for *all* the roadside assistance.

Hoping for better car-ma soon for all Bernalese!


Sarah on Samoset

PHOTOS: via Neighbor Peter

8 thoughts on “Wheel Thefts Leave Bernal Cars Stranded on Blocks

  1. I cannot believe what is going on here in Bernal. From cars being broken into, tipping cars over and now wheels getting stolen. This neighborhood used to be so nice. I read somewhere that most of these come from the East Bay too.

  2. Lastly (sorry for all the posts), What are our neighbors doing? Don’t you hear or see something like this is happening right in front of their house? Taking all 4 wheels off takes time and makes some noise when using a jack. I cannot believe nobody notices this is happening.

    • Apparently wheels can be removed really quickly now. Additionally, like most local car related theft, it’s happening in the middle of the night when no one is around and won’t be woken by it. We didn’t hear the one in front of our house (mentioned in the article) nor did any of the other neighbors I asked.

  3. Crazy this crime has come back into fashion, it’s been really big in NYC the last couple years as well. Some of those car wheels’ value constitute grand theft (not effected by Prop 47)—criminals are either damn sure they’re getting away with it or know they won’t prosecute to the letter of the law.

  4. In the years I grew up in Bernal (70’s to early 80’s), and since my return 11 years ago, I have never seen this much of crime. I’ve had mine and my husbands vehicle broken into in a two week time span, have had potted plants and lawn furniture stolen. Most recently, a random individual walked right into the basement of my home, where my son and his friend was, and took a tote bag. She then went through my neighbors mailboxes and stole mail. My neighbor saw this, and called to alert me. I know many who live throughout Bernal, and have had similar experiences. I kind of chuckle when I hear people say what a “bad” neighborhood Bernal was in the 80’s (was it the “scary” brown teenagers hanging around the corner store? I knew quite a few of those young people – they just didn’t move on to college like myself and the rest of us.) While I was off at school, I never worried about my parents, who could safely walk about the neighborhood and Cortland Ave. They never needed to call the police to report crimes against themselves or others. I’ve got security systems, car alarms and barking dogs. The neighbors on my block keep an eye out for things that don’t look right and keep in contact with one another. None of that seems to matter. The police have told me that they take reports of crime, but even if someone is caught in the act (as was the case in the break-in of my husbands vehicle), the DA isn’t prosecuting! What exactly are we supposed to do, besides be victimized?

  5. Wheel thefts were really big in the Excelsior neighborhood about 15 years ago on major wide streets in plain view. Usually these happened at night or very early morning.

    As for general crime in Bernal, yes there was a lot of property crime there. When I first moved into the area in the mid-90s there were burglar bars across about half the store windows along Cortland.

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