S.F. car thief only makes it a few blocks

A would-be car thief found his scheme thoroughly foiled last week after his victim, an off-duty San Francisco sheriff’s deputy, found him and held him at gunpoint until police arrived, just after the deputy reported the car stolen.

On the evening of Sept. 6, the deputy and his girlfriend discovered that the car, a 1986 Nissan 300ZX registered in her name, had been stolen, Inspector Vince Repetto, of the Auto Theft detail, said Thursday.

They made a report at the Park Police Station at about 7:10 p.m., then drove off down Oak Street. At the corner of Oak and Asbury streets, Repetto said the couple spotted the parked car.

“The deputy parked around the corner and approached the vehicle on foot,” Repetto said. “He saw the suspect in there with the doors closed.”

The deputy drew his gun as he approached the vehicle and held it on the thief while he called the police with whom he had just made the report.

Police arrested Anthony Fardella, 24, on charges of auto theft, possession of stolen property and possession of burglary tools, Repetto said. He said evidence in the car suggested Fardella had stolen at least one other car in The City.

As unlikely as Fardella’s capture seems, Repetto said it is not the first time such an arrest has been made.

“It’s happened before. Cops have had their cars stolen, they go looking for them and catch the person that did it. It’s not unheard of, [but] it’s unusual,” he said.

About 95 percent of autos stolen in San Francisco are recovered in San Francisco, Repetto said, which suggests that most don’t leave town.

Fardella allegedly stole the Nissan by “punching” the ignition, Repetto said. Punching is a technique whereby a long, thin piece of metal, usually a screwdriver, is jammed into the ignition to force a spark.

Many cars, especially Japanese models more than about 10 years old, are vulnerable to punching, Repetto said. He advised owners of older cars to have the ignition replaced or use a steering-wheel lock.

amartin@examiner.com

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

From auto burglaries to homicides, crime fell in San Francisco in 2019

In the face of national scrutiny over street conditions in San Francisco,… Continue reading

Chinese coronavirus outbreak has reached the U.S.

The patient, who recently traveled to the outbreak’s epicenter, was hospitalized last week with pneumonia-like symptoms.

BART to vote this week on Market Street station canopy project

Shelters for station entrances expected to reduce escalator breakdowns

Thin margin in SF police union election triggers runoff

Police in San Francisco are deeply divided over who should be the… Continue reading

Deal reached to purchase home at center of Moms 4 Housing protest

Oakland Community Land Trust to buy property under agreement with investment firm

Most Read