San Francisco police warn of recent spike in burglaries

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) -- Police in San Francisco were warning businesses and residents Monday about a recent uptick in burglaries.

Police have surveillance video of two break-ins by the same person at the same business near San Francisco State University that both took place on June 30th.

A burglar broke into a dental office on Alemany Boulevard twice in a matter of three hours.

"He's got the yellow crowbar which is what he probably used to smash the front entrance door," said Officer Carlos Manredi with the San Francisco Police Department.

The incident happened at 3 a.m. in the morning last Tuesday. A man in dark clothing crawls through the reception window of the dental office. He rummages through cabinets and is seen taking what appears to be a box containing petty cash.

"It was brazen because he did it not once but he did it twice," said Officer Manfredi.

The burglar returned the second time around 6 a.m., a few hours before the dental office was scheduled to open for business. This time, the thief returned after a change of clothing and wearing a hard hat. 

"He was probably scouting the area because he had a hard hat on. There's construction happening here. He knew what he was doing," said a dental office worker who spoke on the condition that KTVU not identify him.

"We're shocked. But we're fortunate he didn't take anything serious," said the employee.

The employee said not patient records were compromised. T tablet was taken, but the worker said that the office was able to remotely erase the information it contained.

He estimated that about $10,000 worth of items were stolen including expensive dental equipment and about $300 in cash.

"We're upset that it happened twice and our security company wasn't able to help us at all . The alarm didn't go off until police came," said the worker.

Police say this may appear to be a small case, but that this burglar needs to be stopped.

"Criminals are creatures of habit. If they're successful in doing it one time, they're going to do it again," said Officer Manfredi. 

The dental office employee tells KTVU the business has increased security by adding cameras and locks. The office is now lit 24/7. 

"It's just like the saying: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger so we'd like to say we learned from this event," said the worker. 

Police describe the suspect as African American, about 40 to 50 years old, medium build and medium height. Both times, the burglar was wearing gloves, so no fingerprints were left.