Weekend car crimes strike 10 victims

David Briggs
Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Johnson dusts for fingerprints on one of two Subaru wagons that were rifled through on Laurel Avenue last weekend during a string of auto crimes in West Marin that included four stolen cars, two of which have been recovered. Officials are investigating the incidents separately.  

California Highway Patrol officials said they are not actively pursuing a pattern in a series of car thefts this past weekend that have challenged West Marin’s blasé, leave-your-doors-unlocked culture.

At least four cars were stolen and six had something stolen from them in Inverness, Point Reyes Station and Lagunitas on Friday and Saturday, witnesses and law enforcement officials said.

Marin County sheriff’s deputies took many of the cases and turned them over to the highway patrol for further investigation, but a spokesman for the agency said he was not aware of a pattern that had been referred to an in-house investigation unit or the sheriff’s offic’es major-crimes task force for auto theft.

Officials said the first reported incident took place Friday afternoon or evening, when a 1997 Nissan Quest parked on Mesa Road in Point Reyes Station was opened, the glove box rifled through and several items removed. A similar incident was reported later that evening on Cameron Street in Inverness, when the owner of a 2005 Chevy reported the loss of $600 worth of property, including a duffle bag and six bottles of wine. A red Mercedes was reported stolen and a Subaru Forrester’s glovebox was also reported ransacked in Inverness.

Two cars were stolen that night as well, in Point Reyes Station and Lagunitas. Both were recovered shortly thereafter, according to Officer Andrew Barclay of the California Highway Patrol.

Three cars were reported burglarized and one stolen the next day in Inverness. Several people whose cars were entered reported losing quotidian documents, like loan papers and the car’s instruction manual and insurance card.

Most were also unlocked, according to law enforcement officials, and in one case the keys were left in the ignition of a car that was stolen.

Officer Barclay described some of the incidents as a “crime of opportunity.”

“The nice thing, but also the bad thing, about West Marin is people leave things unlocked, but you’ve got these crimes of opportunity and whether or not it’s a local person or people or what the situation is, I don’t know,” Officer Barclay said.