A young travel writer from Boston left everything but her heart behind 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 stopped at an In-N-Out to get a burger on the way to the airport.
Within seconds, a gang of four men had forced their way into their rental car and made off with their suitcases, leaving their planned move to Bali in ruins.
“All I have with me is what I wear and like, this hat and this little handbag that doesn’t actually have anything in it,” she said in a TikTok video from the airport.
“This is such a problem in San Francisco and it’s really scary and really sad and I don’t know what the solution is.”
When Shortsleave arrived at the airport in San Francisco, she had little more than the clothes she stood up in
The group of four masked men made short work of their rental car as they stopped for a quick meal
Shortsleave revealed that the hat and a small bag were all that was left for the unfortunate blogger after the attack
The number of robberies in the city is up 16 percent so far this year, with more than 30,000 thefts reported to San Francisco police.
In August alone, San Francisco reported nearly 1,670 car break-ins, adding to the city’s nearly 10,000 vehicle thefts this year.
“My computer, my iPad, my Airpods, my refurbished Bose headphones, all my clothes, my prescriptions, my advance, my passport. ‘My passport!’ Shortsleeve said.
“Everything I own has been legally taken from me.”
“I parked to get a burger and fries and went inside. I was here for four minutes just to get take out, grabbed something and left.
I’m standing at the counter literally ordering and someone asks, “Who has the Jeep outside?”
I say “I do” and they say “Someone is stealing all your stuff”.
“I run out there and this is what I see: Four masked guys with ski masks took all my stuff out of the car, broke the windows, destroyed the rental car I had and took all my stuff.”
The video has already been viewed 270,000 times since the airport uploaded it yesterday
The Tiktoker later uploaded footage of the people who were filmed stealing from her car
It took the group wearing ski masks just seconds to empty everything that was in their car
The rental company asked her to drive the wrecked car 30 minutes to their depot to avoid a $1,000 fine
“And now, of course, because I don’t have my passport, I can’t leave the country and fly to Bali, and I’m like, what the hell? So now I’m just going to fly 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, making their way in just ten minutes and looting the contents.
A family from Malta was on their second day in the city when they were forced to consider cutting short their holiday after losing their passports, cameras, phones, iPads, laptops and luggage.
Last month, thieves in San Francisco were caught on camera driving a Lexus through the streets, stopping at parked cars, breaking windows and stealing valuables inside.
One SUV even had a person sitting in the back seat when the windows were smashed, but the thief still grabbed the victim’s bag before fleeing in the waiting Lexus.
Signs warning residents and tourists not to leave anything in their cars can be seen across the city, but crime rates remain stubbornly high.
Tourist areas such as North Beach, Japantown and Presidio have the highest rate of car break-ins per 10,000 residents.
Last year, Lt. Tracy McCray, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Federation, herself a victim of the crime.
Her car was parked in the 1200 block of Franklin Street between the Tenderloin and Japantown on March 23, 2022, while she was visiting a relative at CPMC Van Ness Campus Hospital.
McCray said she was parked for less than 30 minutes, yet her car was broken into.
She wrote a blog post titled: “Damn, they got me too!”
In 2011, police arrested only about two percent of reported car break-ins. Today this value is less than 1 percent.
Shortsleave, who posts under the username @katshortsleave, told her followers that police found one of her suitcases on the side of a highway with clothes “just flying around on the highway.”
Last month, thieves in San Francisco were caught on camera driving a Lexus through the streets, stopping at parked cars, breaking windows and stealing valuables inside
The locals expressed compassion for their visitor after her experience in their city
In a later video filmed at home in Boston, she revealed that police had found the remains of both suitcases and returned them to her, along with a trash bag that allegedly contained her clothes.
“I opened the trash bag and inside was other people’s clothes, random shoes, dirt, trash, it was disgusting.”
“Of course the nice clothes were all taken away.”
“I’m just grateful to be back.”