Bicyclist says burglars are ‘hole punching’ their way into vehicles in the area

Police say crooks are leaving everything in the same place in the vehicle to avoid drawing suspicions

SAN ANTONIO – Rebecca Todd is an avid biker and trail user who says she’s always aware of the dos and don’ts about leaving her van parked, which is why she was caught off-guard on Monday when she became the victim of a vehicle break-in.

The break-in happened in the parking lot of the Salado Trailhead at Loop 1604.

“Nothing looked strange. Nothing looked moved. Everything was exactly where I left it in the car. The car doors were still locked and everything. Nothing was moved,” Todd said.

A little while later, she noticed her wallet was gone. It was hidden in the vehicle.

“I got on my bank app and saw that several hundred dollars were wiped out of my checking account. All credit cards had been hit,” Todd said.

Everything else that was of value in the car, including the purse, was left behind.

“They even put my purse back where it was under the seat with my hoodie covering the end,” Todd said.

Todd said she was still confused as to how the thieves got in until the San Antonio police officer taking her report had pointed out a small hole next to the key lock, where thieves disengaged the alarm to gain access into the vehicle without leaving a clue.

“When the police officer showed us how they do it, he was explaining that they want to leave everything untouched so that you aren’t concerned because they don’t want you to report, you know, the card’s stolen before they can spend all the money,” Todd said.

Todd said the thieves had time to visit a nearby Best Buy and take off with items worth hundreds of dollars.

Jeff Grossman, a bicyclist with a law enforcement background, said everyone needs to be observant before leaving their cars at any park or trailhead location.

“I don’t take much stuff with me. I just take my keys, my ID, maybe 20 bucks, which I carry on my person,” Grossman said,

Erik Burciaga, who is part of several running clubs -- including Alamo City Running Club -- said club members are always looking out for suspicious people and take precautions if they have concerns.

“We’ll have somebody, instead of going there for 30 minutes or 40, they’ll go out 10 minutes and come back and then go off for another 10 or five minutes and just kind of stay around the area to make sure that, you know, the vehicles are safe or at least nobody’s going to be breaking into them,” Burciaga said.

San Antonio police said Park Police are present in these areas. They offered the following tips for those who visit parks or trails:

  • Always lock your vehicle and take your keys
  • Never leave your car running and unattended
  • Park in a well-lit area
  • Take valuables with you when you are not in your vehicle
  • Keep valuables out of sight
  • Report suspicious activity/people to 911 (provide as much detail as possible)

Todd says she hopes her story saves others the aggravation of repairs and ID replacements.

About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Before starting KSAT in 2017, Lee was a photojournalist at KENS 5, where he won a Lone Star Emmy in 2014 for Best Weather Segment. In 2009 and 2010 Lee garnered first-place awards with the Texas Association of Broadcasters for Best Investigative Series in College Station, as well as winning first place for Staff Photojournalism in 2011 at KBTX.