An East Bay Area car burglary gang that is believed to have stolen thousands of electronic devices was caught with 900 laptops headed for the Port of Oakland for shipment to Vietnam.
The Bay Area has suffered a 35 percent increase in car burglaries over the last 12 months. Fremont police reported taking reports of 14 smash-and-dash car burglaries at shopping centers and parking lots in the southern end of town on Jan. 19 alone.
A task force composed of Fremont police, the South Bay-based REACT tech-crime task force, Homeland Security, and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office had been tracking a ring for months that stole laptops, cell phones, computers, and other electronics. Most of the goods came from the Bay Area, but some of the goods seized appear to have been stolen from as far away as Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
The task force used surveillance techniques to trace recent thefts to a suspected stolen goods fence headquartered in San Francisco. The fence would buy the stolen laptops and other computer equipment for pennies on the dollar, and then resell them to smugglers that would ship the contraband in sea containers to Vietnam.
SiliconValley.com reported that the task force staked out a San Jose storage facility on Mabury Road in early December, where they observed meetings between the alleged fencing group and the alleged stolen-goods exporters.
Fremont police trailed a tractor-trailer up U.S. Interstate 880 before making a stop on Dec. 8. The search of the trailer found 900 laptop computers that were taken as evidence.
The District Attorney’s complaint alleges that hundreds of laptops and tablets were stolen out of parked Bay Area cars between December 2017 and January 2018, and then exported to Vietnam. The DA credits the work of the Bay Area task force for breaking up an organized crime ring headed by a notorious Bay Area street gang that often targeted locked cars at restaurant and shopping mall parking lots.