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The Rim has seen 166 vehicle break-ins in three months. Find out what thieves are after.

A retired SAPD detective says thieves are looking for guns near high-end sporting retailers. The Rim and other I-10 locations are prime targets.

SAN ANTONIO — Vehicle burglaries are common in San Antonio. But when one viewer informed KENS 5 his vehicle had been broken into four times at the same shopping center, we decided to dig a little deeper. 

The Rim, located just north of 1604 on I-10, has seen 166 vehicle burglaries and 49 car thefts since Sept. 1 according to the LexisNexis Community Crime map. KENS 5 already reported a spike in break-ins last week

Wednesday, Retired SAPD Detective Willie Cantu explained why a place like the Rim is so popular with vehicle thieves. Many are after guns. 

"The Rim has that Bass Pro Shop. They sell guns and they sell ammo. There are some (criminal) crews that will target vehicles that they think are related," Cantu said. "They are very organized."

Cantu said one crew he had tracked previously preferred guns because they would bring in better money when the crew sold them later. He said the crews would even pass up laptops or other electronics and target guns specifically. 

Of course, if they can get away with the entire vehicle, thieves will do that as well. 

"Sometimes a vehicle is so full that they don't have time to offload it and they will just take the whole vehicle if they think its possible," Cantu said. 

SAPD already released information that Ford trucks are favored by thieves and Cantu said F-250 trucks "and up" are common targets. 

"They are easy to get into and they are easy to disengage the alarms." Cantu said. 

Cantu said there were several hot spots for vehicle burglary and theft on the I-10 corridor west of Loop 410. Commercial and restaurants give thieves lots of targets and the highway makes for an easy getaway. 

"It's easy access. You hit one place quick and if you need to get away you jump on the highway and you are gone," Cantu said. 

Unfortunately, it can also be hard to deter burglaries. 

Burglary of a vehicle is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $4,000 and jail time of up to a year. However, Cantu said first time offenders are often shown leniency or are put on probation.

"It will just be probation, and a lot of time it will be deferred adjudication. They'll be on probation for an amount of time and if they satisfy that the case will be dismissed," Cantu. 

KENS 5 spoke to Bexar County DA Joe Gonzales about the burglaries as well. Gonzales said it was easier to get jail time for a person who was convicted of more than one burglary of a vehicle or who committed the crime while already out on bond for another. 

"The frustrating thing is when individuals hear about someone who is a repeat offender and commits a crime time and time again. I understand the frustration," Gonzales said. "Part of what the judicial system has created... if somebody is arrested for this kind of case and, while they are out on bond they commit another offense, the judge has the ability to revoke that person's bond and put them in jail."

If a person is convicted of a burglary of vehicle offense twice, there is a minimum term of confinement of six months. A third offense is a state jail felony. 

Of course, if a person gets the case dismissed by going on probation, Cantu said a person would need two more convictions for the additional penalties to kick in. Cantu worries a first-time Class A misdemeanor would not be enough to keep a person from continuing to steal from vehicles. 

"There has to be a consequence for what they are doing," Cantu said. 

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