A young travel writer from Boston left everything except her heart in San Francisco when her plans for a new life abroad were derailed by a gang of masked thieves in the crime-ridden city.
Kathryn Shortsleeve was targeted after just two days in the city when she pulled up to grab a burger at an In-N-Out on her way to the airport.
Within seconds a gang of four men had smashed their way into her rental car and made off with her cases, leaving her planned move to Bali in tatters.
‘All I have with me is what I have on and like this hat and that tiny purse with actually nothing in it,’ she said in a TikTok video from the airport.
‘This is such an issue in San Francisco and it’s really scary and it’s really sad and I don’t know what the solution is.’
Shortsleave was left with little more than the clothes she stood up in by the time she made it to the airport in San Francisco
The gang of four masked men made short work of her hire car when she stopped momentarily for food
Shortsleave showed the hat and a small bag were all that were left to the unfortunate blogger in the wake of the attack
Robberies are up 16 per cent in the city so far this year with more than 30,000 thefts reported to the San Francisco Police Department.
In August alone, San Francisco reported nearly 1,670 car break-ins, contributing to the nearly 10,000 thefts from vehicles recorded in the city this year.
‘My computer, my iPad my airpods my Bose over-the-era headphones, all of my clothes, my prescriptions, my retainer, my passport. My passport!’ Shortsleeve said.
‘Legitimately everything that I own was taken.
‘I parked to get a burger and fries and went in, I was in here for four minutes just to get a take-out just grabbing something and going.
I’m up at the counter literally ordering and someone goes ‘who has the Jeep outside?
I’m like ‘I do’ and they’re like ‘someone’s stealing all your stuff’.
‘I run out there and this is what I see, four masked guys with ski masks on grabbed all of my stuff out of the car, smashed he windows, obliterated this rental car that I had and took all my stuff.
The video has already been seen 270,000 times since it was uploaded from the airport yesterday
The Tiktoker later uploaded footage of the people filmed stealing from her car
The gang in ski-masks took just seconds to empty everything she had in her car
The car rental company asked her to drive the wrecked vehicle 30 minutes to their depot to avoid a $1,000 penalty
‘And now because I don’t have my passport I obviously can’t leave the country and fly to Bali and I’m like what the heck? So now I’m just flying back to Boston.’
Earlier this month tourists visiting Ocean Beach in San Francisco had all their belongings stolen by thieves who went from car to car smashing their way in and looting the contents in just ten minutes.
One family from Malta were on just their second day in the city when they were forced to contemplate cutting their holiday short after losing their passports, cameras, phones, iPads, laptops, and luggage.
Last month, thieves in San Francisco were captured on camera cruising the streets in a Lexus, stopping at parked cars to smash windows and steal valuables inside.
One SUV even had a person sitting in the back when the windows were smashed, but the thief still snatched the victim’s bag before escaping in the waiting Lexus.
Signs can be seen throughout the city warning residents and tourists not to leave anything inside their cars, but the crime rate has remained stubbornly high.
Tourist areas such as the North Beach, Japantown and Presidio have the highest rate of break-ins in cars per 10,000 residents.
Last year Lt. Tracy McCray, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Federation, fell victim to the crime herself.
Her car was parked on the 1200 block of Franklin Street, in between the Tenderloin and Japantown, on March 23, 2022, while she visited a relative at the CPMC Van Ness Campus hospital.
McCray said she was parked for less than 30 minutes, but still her car was broken into.
She wrote a blog post entitled: ‘Hell – they got me, too!’
Back in 2011, police arrested only about 2 percent of reported car break-ins. Today, that figure is under 1 percent.
Shortsleave, who posts under the username @katshortsleave, told her followers that police had found one of her suitcases on the side of a highway with clothes ‘flying around on the highway right now’.
Last month, thieves in San Francisco were captured on camera cruising the streets in a Lexus, stopping at parked cars to smash windows and steal valuables inside
Locals had sympathy for their visitor after her experience in their city
In a later video, filmed back home in Boston, she revealed that the remains of both suitcases had been found and returned to her by police along with a trash bag containing what they thought were her clothes.
‘I opened up the trash bag and it was other people’s clothes, random shoes, dirt, trash, it was disgusting.
‘Of course the nice clothes were all taken.
‘I’m just grateful to be back.’