Suspected serial auto burglar arrested amid widespread car break-ins citywide

A suspected serial auto burglar was arrested last week in connection with 22 auto burglaries in San Francisco and charged with 26 felonies, 10 misdemeanors and one infraction, authorities said.

The suspected auto burglar, 24-year-old Sean Gibson, is also believed to have stolen two guns from separate vehicles in The City, police said.

The arrest comes after several guns, including the one believed to have been used to kill Kathryn Steinle on Pier 14 in July, were stolen from cars in San Francisco.

“We have an auto burglary problem in San Francisco,” police Chief Greg Suhr told reporters earlier this month when a California Highway Patrol officer’s personal firearm was stolen from his car. The weapon has since been recovered.

The most recent crime data, released by police in July, shows San Francisco has experienced a 45 percent jump in auto burglary when compared to last year. In that month, 14,187 auto burglaries were reported. In July 2014, 9,757 were reported.

Police have not released crime stats from August or September.

Alex Bastian, a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office, said Gibson’s arrest should in theory help reduce crime on the streets.

“The SFPD officers working this case did an excellent job collecting evidence,” Bastian said. “Certain offenders are disproportionately responsible for numerous criminal acts, so when you get them off the street it really goes a long way in reducing crime.”

Gibson, a San Francisco resident, pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, which are mostly allegations of auto burglary and possessing stolen property.

Gibson allegedly vandalized cars in the South of Market neighborhood — part of the Police Department’s Southern district where auto burglaries jumped 47 percent between July 2014 and July 2015. He also allegedly vandalized some cars along The Embarcadero and other locations in The City.

Gibson was arrested Oct. 20 at his home on a search warrant executed by Southern Station officers and investigators from the Major Crimes Unit after a several-week investigation into the auto burglaries.

Police are now investigating whether or not the two stolen weapons he allegedly stole from cars, found in his home, were used in any assaults.

The District Attorney’s Office said Gibson has been charged with 18 counts of auto burglary, 11 counts of possession of stolen property, two counts of possession of burglary tools, one count of vandalism, one count of driving with a suspended license, one count of altering or damaging part of a vehicle, one count of resisting arrest, one count of possessing a large capacity magazine and one allegation of an infraction for failure to display a license plate.

He is being held at County Jail on $523,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court again Nov. 5, prosecutors said.

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