Justin Goen: “It’s because more people are desperate, and they resort to stealing.”
At about New Year’s Eve, a south San Diego woman posted a Facebook meme warning her neighbors of a thief, or thieves, that stole nearly $8,000 worth of Milwaukee tools from her boyfriend’s truck, which was parked in front of Home Depot off of Saturn and Palm near the I-5.
Cristbel Adams saw the meme, messaged me on Facebook, and alerted her Imperial Beach neighbors.
“Lately, situations like this are often happening. I say to everyone: ‘never leave anything in the vehicle, even a jacket or a pair of shoes.’ They just stole my friend's laptop and a bag of tools from his car. The thieves usually have a flashlight to see what is inside.”
On New Year’s Eve, about 9:30 p.m., Crimemapping.com relayed that the San Diego Police Department reported a vehicle break-in/theft on Howard Avenue about three miles southeast of the Home Depot on Saturn. Details about the stolen items were not divulged in the crime report.
“I bet they were tools,” opined John P., an auto painter that lives close to the Church’s Chicken by Howard Avenue. “Thieves are hitting tools because they are easy flips online. If my tools are large enough, I’ll engrave them with my driver’s license number. You never know.”
Tool owners etch pertinent info into their tools in hopes it’ll deter thieves from snatching their means of livelihood. John owns a few air compressors, power sanders, and paint sprayers, and in case they are stolen, “I’d hope somebody would message me on Facebook about them, or if a cop finds them, he or she will return them to me.”
Cristbel Adams: "The thieves usually have a flashlight to see what is inside.”
DC from south San Diego posted a screenshot of an incriminating video on Facebook taken a day before Thanksgiving. “A white guy in a black Lexus car broke into my van this morning and stole all my work tools. If anyone knows something, please speak up. This was [a] local, and they knew exactly what they were going for.”
“Go to the swapmeet today on Coronado Avenue; he might be there selling your stuff,” suggested an IB neighbor. “DC, I saw a broken window on a van on 3rd and Elder this morning too, wasn’t [it] your van?” questioned another.
“Not my van,” DC responded.
On Thanksgiving day, a Milwaukee 15 tool combo kit — the same brand of tools stolen from the Home Depot parking lot recently — sold for $4,500 on eBay. Around the same time, an additional six Milwaukee M18 Force Logic Press tool kits — used primarily by mechanical contractors and plumbers — sold on eBay in used conditions for about $3,000 per set.
Ryan B. is a plumber whose tools were stolen from his Ford Ranger in La Mesa in 2019 and 2020.
“The first time, they came around 1 am and broke into the toolbox in the bed of my truck and stole about $2,500 worth of tools, including a jackhammer, a Milwaukee hole hawg drill, an acetylene tank, and my tool bag with all my hand tools. My brother-in-law was awake, and he heard noises, then woke me up. We both ran outside, but we were about 30 seconds too late; we watched them haul ass off my street. I called the police as my brother-in-law jumped in his car to track them down. The La Mesa Police Department responded quickly and stopped a car that my brother-in-law thought was occupied by the suspects. This was on the I-8 westbound by the College exit. It turned out to be a group of girls that probably got scared shitless.”
The second time around, the thieves jacked Ryan’s sound system and his other bag of tools.
“Neither time did my auto insurance cover the items taken because nothing was damaged on the truck in the process.”
Justin Goen, a mechanic and racecar driver from Rancho Bernardo fell victim to theft when the perp stole his Prius’s catalytic converter last year; more recently, someone ran off with his tools and racecar parts. “It’s because more people are desperate, and they resort to stealing.”
“It happened to my mechanic buddy recently. He was at home in Mira Mesa recovering from covid-19, his car and boat were broken into, and over $3,000 of mechanic tools were stolen. He heard a car alarm but couldn't get the strength to go outside and check. It really set him back financially, and he had to buy new tools immediately to get back to work. Normally an average tech/mechanic has about $30,000 in tools, or even upwards to $60K in tools for higher-level techs or specialists.”
Back down south, I reached out to the New Year’s Eve “tool-jacking” victim at the Home Depot parking lot, and she didn’t reply. I spoke with a Home Depot employee who requested anonymity.
“Some of them look around our parking lot for receipts that our customers throw away; they [shoplift] an item [on the receipt] and try to return it for cash.”
Another San Diegan blames bike thieves for the uptick in tool theft. “They think they need the killer set of tools to break down the bikes faster.”