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Two arrested after breaking into multiple cars around San Antonio, police say

They'll be charged with vehicle burglary and evading arrest, police say, among other offenses.

SAN ANTONIO — On the same day that SAPD launched a task force focused on curbing holiday-season property crime, it helped with the arrests of two suspects who authorities say were seen breaking into multiple cars Wednesday.

San Antonio Police Officer Nick Soliz says a 20-year-old man, Felipe Salazar, as well as a second, unidentified juvenile suspect were initially seen burglarizing vehicles outside a business on the northwest side, along the 15000 block of I-10. Officers with the Holiday Task Force began following them, and eventually noticed them breaking into others cars on the north side of town. 

"One was driving, one would get out of the car, burglarize a vehicle, then get back in," Soliz said. 

In all, police say they noticed the suspects breaking into four cars, though it's unclear how exactly they were gaining entry. SAPD began following them from the air before the suspects eventually abandoned their car along the 4700 block of Stringfellow, on the southeast side. 

They were later arrested without incident, according to Soliz, and found to have a stolen car and firearm, in addition to other stolen property. 

They're being charged with vehicle burglary, possession of a stolen firearm and evading arrest, among other charges. 

“That’s why it’s so important to hide your property or don’t leave any property in your vehicles," Soliz said. "If they can see it, they will take it.”

A growing trend

The arrests came hours after KENS 5 was with SAPD inspecting cars that could be a burglar’s next target. 

New numbers from SAPD show that car burglaries have gone up every single month in 2022, compared with last year's monthly totals. In fact, it amounts to a nearly 30% increase overall. 

What's behind the increase? SAPD says it's hard to pinpoint one reason, but did say repeat offenders are to blame. 

Right now, SAPD is mounting a two-part campaign to prevent and educate, and to go after offenders. 

KENS 5 on Wednesday followed two SAPD San Antonio Fear Free Environment (SAFFE) officers, including James Wueste. They checked vehicles in a parking lot to see if they would pass or fail a test of enticing would-be criminals.

 Wuste would look through their windows to see if he could see any valuables out in the open. 

Soliz explained those valuables could be anything. 

“Guns, purses, backpacks, laptops, cameras,” he said. "Anything you can think of value."

Parking lots are a hotspot. Charles Ponce, a local shopper, allowed SAPD to inspect his car. Wueste could see bags inside.

“Looks like you got a shopping bag right there,” the officer said.

Ponce said he is typically mindful, and had a message for the burglars. 

“It is easier to work for your stuff than to take it,” he said.

About half the vehicles SAPD checked out while KENS was with the unit passed the eye test. Some vehicles had bags in them, even purses. One truck had a seat of keys visible in the cupholder.

“Hopefully people can learn,” Soliz said. 

What is SAPD doing to bring down the numbers of car burglaries? One initiative involves educating the public. The other, going after the repeat offenders who are part of the reason they said numbers are up. 

“It is a strong goal to get those habitual burglars off the streets,” Soliz said.

SAPD wouldn’t specify on its strategy on going after the repeat offenders. In the meantime, officers said if you are going store to store, carry those bags with you. If not, use a shield to cover the bags, like a blanket from home. 

“It may not be the best option, but if forces that criminal to take that extra second or two to observe what may be under that blanket," police said. “That may be the time they don’t want to spend to prevent them from breaking into your car.”

The Bexar County District Attorney’s office sent the following about repeat offenders for this crime, with regards to the cite-and-release program. 

"Burglary of a Vehicle is not an offense that is eligible for Cite and Release under the law and our office does not accept Burglary of a Vehicle cases into the Cite and Release program.  The law limits Cite and Release to a small number of misdemeanor offenses.

"Our office takes these crimes very seriously and we do everything that we can to hold these offenders accountable."




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