After the football games ended, leftovers were put away and the dishes were done, residents in a Thousand Oaks neighborhood were sleeping away the final hours of Thanksgiving with no idea car thieves were starting early on Black Friday.
Residents in the community northwest of Los Angeles reported a string of burglaries.
“Any car that was open on the street, they got into it and they were able to take anything they wanted,” resident Alisa Bertram said.
Including, in Bertram’s case, the car itself.
“I just started yelling to my husband, ‘Where is the car? Where is the car?’” Bertram said.
Bertram’s security cameras captured the car theft at approximately 2 a.m. on Friday, but neighbors told NBC4 they started to notice suspicious activity around 9:30 a.m. that same morning.
Neighbor Keely Bohn said that as she looked around her cul de sac, she found that multiple cars had open doors and trunks.
“My glove compartment was thrown open, literally, like things thrown everywhere,” Bohn said.
As far as neighbors can tell, the thieves did not force their way into cars. They tried doors that were open, looking for any items of value.
In Bertram’s case, her keys were in her SUV. Fortunately, however, her husband had an Apple AirTag that was tracking its location.
Ventura County sheriff’s investigators confirmed that LAPD officers found the stolen SUV in Pacoima. Bertram’s security footage showed the car had been ransacked and dirty when it was returned to her. Bertram said the SUV appeared to be missing parts and was no longer driveable.
Moving forward, she and other neighbors are looking to be more vigilant and make some safety improvements.
“I do feel like we have a lack of lighting, it’s a predominantly quiet neighborhood, so it does seem like an easy target,” Bohn said.
Ventura County sheriffs say there have been no arrests at this point.