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Thieves on track to steal more than $4M this year in property
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If the trend holds by the end of this year criminals will have stolen more than $4 million worth of property from residents and businesses in Manteca. Of that, less than half will be recovered.
That doesn’t mean, however, it will get back in the hands of its owners. That’s because much of the property recovered either has no identifying marks or the victims were unable to provide Manteca Police with an adequate description.
This is where Police Chief Jodie Estarziau noted law-abiding residents can take steps to increase the likelihood that if stolen property is recovered that it could be returned to them.
Estarziau said without some form of identifying marks — or photos — supplied it is often next to impossible to match up owners with recovered property.
There was $4.6 million worth of property stolen in Manteca during 2016. of that, 44.77 percent was recovered. Unfortunately a significant percentage of that can’t be connected with owners easily due to a dearth of information identifying ownership.
More than $35 million in property has been stolen in Manteca since 2008 with just about 40 percent of that recovered by law enforcement.
The cost of the thefts can be higher given the value police record is the market value and not the replacement value. About half the value of property stolen in year is reflected in vehicle theft with most cars stolen tending to be older models.
The stolen property value for Manteca is below the national average for similar sized cities.
While cars and such are easy to trace back to owners as the state records vehicle identification numbers, that’s not the case with most other stolen property.
The property in question are items taken in burglaries, stolen from yards and open garages or pilfered from cars.
The police chief said insurance companies and law enforcement agencies in the past advised putting Social Security and driver’s license number on items. Due to concerns about identify theft the practice is discouraged. However, any series or numbers or letters you use to identify property and record it down in a secure place will work.
Estarziau said heavily targeted items such as laptops and televisions all have serial numbers that should be recorded.
In many cases when you have an unusual item that doesn’t lend itself to having identifying numbers etched or attached, photos often suffice.
“Everyone has a smartphone,” the chief said. “It is easy to take photos of valuables with a smartphone.”
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email