Laptops a hot item in Mission district

The Mission district was struck by a series of laptop thefts in recent weeks, including a brazen robbery in which three suspects stormed into a cafe and grabbed a woman’s computer directly from her hands.

At least seven laptops were stolen in the area from Aug. 7-17, according to a report released by the Mission Police Station. The thefts ranged from strong-arm robberies to criminal opportunism, notably in the case of the cafe robbery, which occurred Aug. 14 at Cafe Petra on Guerrero Street.

A woman was sitting in the cafe about 9 p.m. when she noticed three men staring at her from the street outside, police said. Minutes later, the men stormed inside the cafe and bolted with her laptop, running northbound on Guerrero Street and out of sight.

The Cafe Petra burglary followed a series of thefts in the Mission.

Lt. William Canning of the SFPD’s Robbery Division said he didn’t have exact numbers on laptop thefts in The City — they’re combined with other electronics cases — but he did add that the crimes are “not uncommon.”

“You have people on their computers in these cafes and they’re oblivious to their surroundings,” he said. “Guys come up and snag them before the victims even know what hit them.”

Canning said the ease with which laptops can be sold illegally is appealing to criminals interested in making fast cash.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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