Crook steals unmarked police car in Golden Gate Park 

UPDATE: Unmarked police car found undamaged, with nothing apparently missing, in Kragen Auto parking lot at Geary Boulevard and Third Avenue around 1 p.m.

An unmarked police car was stolen in Golden Gate Park after the cops left the keys inside Wednesday, police said.

The plainclothes cops left behind their 2000 Ford Crown Victoria while rushing to the aid of a fellow officer in the Hippie Hill area of the park, police Lt. Troy Dangerfield said.

They were called to the scene about a person resisting arrest, Dangerfield said.

A thief drove off with the unattended car sometime after 4 p.m., Dangerfield said.

There were no weapons in the car, he said.

The vehicle was found Thursday around 1 p.m., when employees at the Kragen Auto on Geary Boulevard and Third Street called cops wondering why an unmarked police was in their parking lot, police Officer Albie Esparza said.

There was "no new apparent damage" and it appears nothing was stolen from the vehicle, Esparza said.

The car must have been dropped off in the lot overnight, he said. Police planned to process the vehicle for evidence, including dusting for fingerprints, he added. As of Thursday, no arrest was reported in the case.

Dangerfield said the cops, who were assigned to Park Station, would not be sanctioned for leaving the car unsecured. Their priority was to ensure their fellow officer's safety, he said.

“The officers weren’t doing anything wrong,” Dangerfield said. “The person that did something wrong was the person that stole the vehicle.”

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014

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