More than 70 cars stolen from San Leandro Dodge dealership during looting spree
SAN LEANDRO, Calif. - San Leandro Chrysler Dodge is open for business after one of the largest auto theft sprees in memory.
"Pisses you off man. You walk in it's like a war zone," said dealership owner Carlos Hidalgo.
Cell phone video reveals some of what happened Sunday night at the dealership on Marina Boulevard. It shows new dodge cars and trucks screeching out of the lot and onto the street.
By the time it was over 74 vehicles were gone.
Hidalgo said as a precaution against thefts he had parked cars at all the lot exits. It didn't matter.
"They started ramming, ramming until they could get out. They took out chains and fence posts. It was a very malicious act."
It happened during a night of looting in different areas of San Leandro, police were spread thin.
Looters first swarmed the marina square shopping center. Then hundreds of people converged on dodge dealership just across the street.
"I don't know if this was just a moment of opportunity for some of those individuals or if it was a precise plan of operation," said Lieutenant Ted Henderson.
Thieves broke into the showroom, got the lockbox open, and took the car keys, hitting alarm buttons to see what key went with which car.
Police say they have recovered at least 15 cars. Some in the Bay Area and some 150 miles away in Kings County. Many have been chopped for parts.
"As we are getting them back I've got cars without engines," said Hidalgo,
That could be because many of the stolen vehicles have high-performance engines called Hellcats.
The dealership says it has hired armed guards for the foreseeable future. Losses and damage is estimated at $5 million.