SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - People in one San Francisco neighborhood say they're fuming that a burglar who's been targeting their homes for weeks is once again out of jail.
Police say the thief can be seen in a home security video, stealing items from a home garage in the city's outer Sunset District.
The home of Jessica Bradshaw, who lives near Irving Street, was burglarized Feb. 9. She said the burglar appears to be gaining access to the homes via the garage. Security cameras at her home recorded the thieves in action as they stole cases of wine, snowboarding gear and electronics.
"It's a bad feeling certainly and it's hard to shake and it's hard to feel totally secure," said Bradshaw. She and her husband Peter had to explain why the garage was ransacked to the couple's two young daughters.
San Francisco police say the man seen in the video wearing a black hat and red shirt is Joseph DePaoli, 40, who is currently on felony probation. A man who identified himself as DePaoli called the KTVU FOX 2 newsroom on March 7 and said he was responsible for one of the home burglaries but not several as police have said.
"I was desperate for drug money," the man told KTVU, adding that he made "extremely poor decisions" that led to the burglary. "This whole thing has been blown way out of proportion," he said.
Officers arrested him the next day, but he was released from jail just four days later.
"Ultimately it is the judges that make the final decision on when someone is or isn't released," said SFPD Commander Greg McEachern. He said what was particularly frustrating about this case; DePaoli struck another home 12 days later, was re-arrested and released again just two days later.
"It's hard to believe that an individual who has committed so many crimes in such a short period of time and has been arrested, who was already on probation, is allowed to be released by the judicial system," said McEachern.
"I mean, why?" questioned Bradshaw. "You know, we all know what he's gonna do now; he's gonna go and get another house!"
Investigators believe DePaoli is responsible for a spate of burglaries that happened over Presidents' Day weekend between 41st and 34th Avenues and Vicente and Santiago.
"I think this whole criminal justice reform mentality, I think many of the judges are part of that, part of the problem," said former SFPD Police Chief and Director of USF's International Institute of Criminal Justice Leadership. "We do have professional criminals. They've chosen that as their life's vocation and the criminal justice system has a responsibility to put them out of business."
"How do we feel totally safe when this is happening all over our neighborhood?" asked Bradshaw.
SFPD says there is a strong likelihood that Depaoli will re-offend. Meanwhile, the Bradshaws have increased security measures and by using a simple plastic zip tie threaded through emergency release latch, burglars can no longer gain access.
The youngest member of the family has her own message for the burglar.
"I think he should stop and that was also very mean. I think he should very stop robbing all these houses in our neighborhood," said Lily Bradshaw sternly.
There is a second suspect seen in the video tape that police have not yet identified. He is wearing a backward baseball cap. If you recognize the man, you are urged to contact SFPD.