Police in Northern California are searching for suspects after rioters reportedly stole more than 70 premium cars from a dealership near San Francisco Sunday night.
San Leandro Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealership owner Carlos Hidalgo said that although he blocked the exits as a precaution, the thieves “started ramming, ramming until they could get out. They took out chains and fence posts. It was a very malicious act,” FOX 2 in Oakland reported.
“You walk in [and] it’s like a war zone,” Hidalgo said of the aftermath. “It’s not a cause for anybody. This is just bad thieves. It’s horrible. This is domestic terrorism brought upon to people that work. That’s not right.”
He said he called police but they were too busy to respond to the dealership that night, SF Gate reported.
Looters separated themselves from peaceful protesters – who were in the Bay Area Sunday demanding justice after the death of George Floyd – first hitting a Nike clearance store across the street from the dealership.
After breaking into the showroom, the thieves gained access to the key lockbox and used the fobs to locate the cars.
Nearly all of the dealership’s $90,000 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcats were stolen, FOX 2 reported.
The thieves also stole Charger Hellcats, Jeep Wranglers and pickup trucks.
San Leandro Police Department Lt. Ted Henderson said he didn’t know if it was an opportunistic crime or if it was planned.
He said no arrests have been made but police are searching social media video of the crime and looking for surveillance video in the area to identify the suspects.
“The events in Minneapolis have re-opened old, raw wounds and forced us to confront societal injustices that need to be addressed,” Chief Jeff Tudor wrote in a statement posted on the department’s Facebook page. “Those who peacefully protested have started that conversation. But those who have looted and stoked violence in our community are hurting that effort.”
Between 20 to 25 cars have been recovered, Henderson said, some damaged and others chopped for parts.
“As we are getting them back, I’ve got cars without engines,” Hidalgo told FOX 2.
The dealership estimates it has lost $5 million in the thefts and plans to hire armed guards.
A nearby Walmart, See’s Candies, Burlington Coat Factory, Subway and Designer Shoe Warehouse were also looted Sunday night, according to SF Gate.