Bay Area cities team up to prevent laptop thefts following recent increase

Bay Area

BERKELEY (KRON) — “They’re valuable things you spend money on and working hard for them so I wouldn’t want anybody no matter the place to steal it,” Bryan Castillo said.

Video shows a man who police say tried to steal a laptop outside Caffe Strada in Berkeley last year.

Since then, police say there have been dozens of laptop thefts at coffee shops in the city.

Students say they do what they can to keep their electronics safe.

“I keep it in my dorm,” Andrew Norton said. “And if it’s not I keep it in my backpack.”

“I’ve seen people with locks with their laptops that lock into a table when they leave,” Mackhai Nguyen said.

Berkeley police said they had 61 laptop thefts at cafes in 2018 and 85 in 2019 — a 40-percent increase.

Very few other police departments track laptop thefts specifically. After checking with Fremont, Oakland, San Francisco and Mountain View, none of them provided an answer as to how many laptops had been stolen there.

“It is something that’s been a persistent problem for us,” Byron White said. “The small personal electronic devices everyone seems to have these days.”

On Tuesday, Fremont police reported a laptop theft.

A few weeks ago, a young man was killed trying to get his back from thieves in Oakland.

And another man got his stolen a few days after Christmas in Vacaville.

A number of cities have now teamed up, creating a task force to crack down on the laptop thefts and car break ins.

Berkeley police said they are also running sting operations.

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