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San Francisco jury convicts serial car burglar after string of smash-and-grab thefts

San Francisco, California – In a significant victory for the residents of San Francisco who have long been plagued by rampant car break-ins, a jury this week convicted 28-year-old Victor Matute-Casco of multiple counts of burglary. Matute-Casco, now labeled as a ‘brazen’ car thief, was found guilty on six counts, following evidence presented by prosecutors that he broke into six vehicles in a single night in the neighborhoods of Excelsior and Crocker Amazon.

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There are more than 20,000 car break-ins per year in San Francisco 

San Francisco, a city known for its high rate of vehicle burglaries, records more than 20,000 car break-ins per year, according to city data. However, the arrest rate for such crimes has been disappointingly low, with only 1% of cases resulting in arrests. This conviction is a rare and welcome outcome for a city under siege by what is colloquially known as “bipping” – the smash-and-grab thefts that target parked cars with alarming speed and efficiency.

District Attorney Brooke Jenkins expressed her determination to combat auto burglary, stating, “Auto burglary continues to be a top concern for residents and visitors of our city, and I will continue to work closely with law enforcement to ensure that prolific auto burglars face consequences.” Jenkins hailed the jury’s verdict as a step forward in making San Francisco safer and stopping Matute-Casco’s criminal activities.

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Evidence against Matute-Casco included forensic findings and the discovery of his distinctive clothing at the crime scenes. His arrest on the night of September 8, 2023, came after police officers found him hiding under a parked vehicle on Cordova Street, having previously spotted him casing vehicles on Naples Street with a flashlight. A search of his vehicle yielded power tools belonging to one of the victims, further linking him to the burglaries.

Currently in custody, Matute-Casco faces a sentencing on March 13, where he could be looking at more than eight years in state prison. This case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Kourtney Bell, who after the verdict, warned potential criminals, “The City and County of San Francisco has demonstrated that it will no longer tolerate individuals breaking into our vehicles with impunity. I strongly advise that you think twice before breaking a vehicle’s window in San Francisco.”

This conviction serves as a crucial reminder of the city’s ongoing battle against car break-ins and the efforts being made to hold perpetrators accountable.

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For the residents and visitors of San Francisco, it is a beacon of hope that the tide may be turning in the fight against this pervasive form of urban crime.

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