Santa Clara nonprofit frustrated with police response after theft caught on video

A nonprofit is frustrated with Santa Clara Police after a thief is caught on camera. The case appears to be cut and dry with clear surveillance video of the getaway truck and a license plate yet no arrests have been made. 

The victim in this case is a performing arts group called the Santa Clara Vanguard, part of Drum Corps International. The nonprofit has been in Santa Clara for 53 years. 21-year-old Lizzie Rivera is a member.

“I saw them perform at the Denton Texas show in 2013 and I was completely captivated and filled with emotion when I saw them performing on the field,” said Rivera.

On August 18, a thief likely using bolt cutters broke the locks of several trailers parked in the rear lot of the music hall.

Among the items that were stolen include four generators used to power equipment, a Mac Book Pro, a synthesizer, and other electronics. The loss is estimated at $15,000.

“It’s so incredibly frustrating that we do this wonderful thing in this world and someone would come and take things from us,” said Santa Clara Vanguard Interim Executive Director Jeremy Van Wert.

Van Wert also said the police response was also frustrating. The nonprofit provided police with surveillance video of a man entering an adjacent parking lot, taking off with their belongings in his pick-up truck. In the video, the license plate is clearly visible.

“Today when I spoke with Santa Clara Police, I was told nothing has been done and the case had not been acted on,” said Van Wert.

“We apologize for the delay in it and we completely understand the frustration,” said Lt. Saskia Lagergren of Santa Clara Police.

Police said the online reporting tool had initially rejected the report because suspect information needed to be taken from a patrol officer. The officer who then took the report got injured and is now on leave.

“I can certainly see how the reporting person feels the ball was dropped in this case,” said Lt. Lagergren. “It was circumstances we couldn’t control.”

Police have now assigned a new officer to the case and are reviewing their procedures. The nonprofit believes the lack of follow through cost time and possibly valuable equipment.

“I’m frustrated that I had to call four times to get the wheels rolling on this investigation,” said Van Wert.