Police are searching for the thieves responsible for a rash of car break-ins that occurred early Sunday morning near the Laurelwood Shopping Center in San Mateo.

Twelve cars were broken into between 4:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. on the 1100 block of 31st Ave., the unit block of Scenic Way and the unit block of Fairoaks Court as well as the 1500 and 1200 blocks of West Hillsdale Boulevard, according to police. San Mateo police spokesman Officer Michael Haobsh said the largely residential area has not been a known hot spot for break-ins, though shopping centers generally are popular with thieves. 

San Mateo car break-in

Some of the vehicles were unlocked but thieves otherwise entered by smashing windows and took spare change, credit cards and sunglasses, among other items, according to a press release.

Police have obtained surveillance footage, which depicts a suspect on foot wearing a hoodie and carrying a backpack.

Haobsh urged residents to install inward and outward facing security cameras and make police aware that they have them.  

“We are solving more cases thanks to video surveillance,” he said.

Haobsh also recommended additional lighting, following the department on social media and Nixle for crime prevention tips or joining neighborhood watch. 

“San Mateo has the most robust neighborhood watch program in the entire county so if people are not getting involved we encourage them to contact that unit within San Mateo Police Department,” he said. 

Anyone with surveillance or information can call the department at (650) 522-7700. Anonymous tips can be submitted to tinyurl.com/SMPDTips or by calling (650) 522-7676.

Foster City was also hit with a series of auto burglaries on Oct. 24. There were six break-ins between 9:05 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. on Foster City Boulevard, Foster Square Lane, Alma Lane. Windows were smashed, but it’s not known what was taken.

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