String of vehicle crimes has West Side neighborhood working together to help SAPD

Crime spree example of why two statewide organizations created awareness campaign about vehicle crimes

SAN ANTONIO – Driving through the Tara subdivision off Highway 151 on the city’s West Side , you can’t miss it.

Above Darrin and Keri Domko’s garage are three large poster boards that make up a homemade wanted sign.

The sign includes a surveillance photo of an alleged vehicle theft and lists details of other recent crimes.

“I want everybody to see it. Let them know we’re aware and that we’re looking for you because we got to help the cops one way,” Darrin Domko said.

Early Tuesday morning, Darrin Domko said he and his wife’s trucks were burglarized after they were both accidentally left unlocked.

“They flipped open the glove box, trashed it, flipped open the compartment, trashed it. And the same thing with my console,” he said while showing the inside of his truck

The Domkos submitted footage to the San Antonio Police Department from an overhead camera, showing two people getting into his wife’s truck, rummaging around, and then walking off.

Keri Domko said her wallet was stolen.

An SAPD report said the people committing the crimes were walking down the street pulling on door handles to see which cars were unlocked.

“They have a car that rides down the road with them and it waits. And then they do their thing. I guess they grab the stuff and they shove it in the car and they move down,” Darrin Domko said.

The Domkos immediately posted the incident on their neighborhood watch Facebook page.

“Comments just started blowing up. ‘This happened to me. This happened there,’” Darrin Domko said. “People were sending us video footage of their house from their cameras.”

During the rash of burglaries, a woman several houses down from the Domkos told KSAT her KIA was stolen, ransacked and found around the corner.

The woman said she has one of the most commonly stolen cars right now, thanks to a viral TikTok challenge online.

Another KIA was stolen several streets down around 4:30 a.m. the next day, the same time as the day before.

Linda Cordova sent surveillance video to SAPD and KSAT, showing the people rummaging through her car.

When police found it, they saw the steering column had been torn apart during the theft.

While vehicle burglaries have not spiked in San Antonio in the last year, vehicle theft has risen.

From January to April 2022, SAPD reported 3,649 thefts. During the same four months this year, there were 5,828 thefts.

Across Texas, thefts, burglaries and stolen parts are all serious issues.

“Texas currently ranks second in the country for the largest number of motor vehicle crimes, with more than 65,000 cars and trucks stolen and nearly 200,000 burglarized every year,” said Rich Johnson, Insurance Council of Texas Director of Communications and Public Affairs.

The ICT has joined the Vehicle Crime Prevention Authority to launch a statewide awareness campaign called Lock it Down!

The organizations are reminding drivers to:

  • Hide your valuables from plain sight
  • Lock your vehicle and take your keys
  • Never hide a second set of keys in or on your vehicle
  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Never leave your vehicle running, even for a minute

Anyone with information about the vehicle burglaries and thefts this week in the Tara subdivision is asked to call SAPD’s non-emergency number at 210-207-7273.

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About the Authors:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.