‘A lockbox isn’t enough’, Car theft victim speaks out after thieves hit auto repair shops

Alex Castro thought his car was safe and secure when he dropped it off at an auto repair shop for work back on Aug. 8. Unfortunately, thieves used a stolen vehicle to burglarize the shop last weekend, getting away with two vehicles. 

"I can only imagine what they did with my car," Castro told KTVU. "It has $20,000 worth of damage."

His BMW shows damage all along the passenger side of his vehicle.

"I dropped it off at CARSTAR Chilton and was supposed to pick up this past Monday," he said.

Instead, he picked it up in East Oakland Saturday after getting an alarming phone call from the Oakland Police Department.

"The police thought the shop had called me, so the police were like, ‘Hey we’re contacting you about your car.’ I was totally confused."

According to police, Castro’s BMW was stolen from the auto shop in the 6400 block of Shattuck Ave. around 6 a.m.

"I wasn’t contacted until nine hours later," he said. "That’s a pretty big deal."

More concerning he said is how thieves appear to be gaining access to these businesses.

"Police said they’re using stolen cars to ram the rollup doors or storefronts, get inside the office and then access car keys," he said. "Obviously a lockbox isn’t enough because it can be pried open with a crowbar."


Oakland car heist leaves six people without vehicles

Oakland police are investigating after six cars were stolen from the Firestone Complete Auto Care store on Broadway. According to victims, the people responsible gained entry to the store by smashing the front window and taking multiple keys.

Castro is speaking out after learning another auto shop was hit during the same time frame on Aug. 12.

As KTVU reported, six cars were taken from a Firestone auto repair shop on Broadway around 6 a.m.  In that case, thieves used a stolen vehicle to ram the storefront. Once inside they accessed car keys and opened the rollup door.

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"These businesses really need to do better at securing our personal property," said Castro.

He is recommending people ask auto shops questions about security before leaving their cars overnight.

"You really need to ask the hard questions on how they're securing things outside business hours. A security camera is nice but that clearly didn’t stop anyone from stealing my car. So you really have to ask what safety measures to they have in place. Are the keys in a safe?"

KTVU reached out to both CARSTAR's local management and corporate communications team for comment but have yet to hear back.

Police have not said if last Saturday’s thefts are connected. Both cases are being investigated. It’s unclear if there have been any arrests.