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'Inside Edition' crew reports on San Francisco's 'smash and grab' robbery epidemic — and gets robbed

An 'Inside Edition' crew reported on San Francisco's "smash and grab" robbery epidemic — and got robbed, too. (Image source: Inside Edition video screenshot)

While "Inside Edition" was taping a segment in San Francisco on the city's rash of "smash and grab" robberies — in which thieves break vehicle windows and take off with items — the crew actually fell victim to crime as well.

But at first, things were going just as planned.

Wanting to demonstrate in real time the smash-and-grab epidemic — car break-ins happen every 17 minutes in San Francisco, "Inside Edition" said — the crew set up a trap, rigging a car with hidden cameras and using a $250 speaker and Michael Kors purse as "bait."

What's more, GPS tracking devices were hidden inside the speaker and purse, the show said.

Image source: Inside Edition video screenshot

And before long, a couple of folks peered into the parked car, waited for the coast to clear, and then went to work — and in broad daylight.

Image source: Inside Edition video screenshot

One of them put on his hood, tried unsuccessfully to break the front passenger window with a glass puncher, and then got the back window to shatter.

Image source: Inside Edition video screenshot

Then the pair took off with the purse and speaker.

Hot on the trail

"Inside Edition’s" Chief Investigative Correspondent Lisa Guerrero activated the GPS units and followed them through the city, the show noted, adding that she finally confronted them at a subway entrance.

“Hey, you guys, what's going on? I'm Lisa Guerrero with 'Inside Edition,'" she said. “You've got my speaker right there. You just broke into my car.”

“What?” the man replied.

“We've got it on camera,” she explained to him. “Five million people are gonna see you steal that, so you can choose to give it back or not."

Image source: Inside Edition video screenshot

The answer was no, apparently, as he pushed "Inside Edition's" camera away.

Image source: Inside Edition video screenshot

'I’m just gonna call my mother'

The guy then came up with a rather comical plan: “You know what? I’m just gonna call my mother,” he said.

“You should call your mother. That is awesome,” Guerrero responded. “Can I talk to your mom?”

A chat with Mom was not in the cards — but the fella did leave the speaker on the ground before walking away.

As for the woman in possession of the purse, who fled when Guerrero confronted the man, it seems she smartened up: The GPS led Guerrero to a trash can where the woman apparently dumped the purse.

'Inside Edition' gets robbed

Turns out the crew wasn't immune to San Francisco's smash-and-grab epidemic, as one the program's vehicles was broken into: A pair of shattered windows and thousands of dollars in equipment swiped, the show said.

Image source: Inside Edition video screenshot

"We actually got hit twice in one day," Guerrero said.

Image source: Inside Edition video screenshot

Despite the Inside Edition robbery getting caught on surveillance video, the prospects for justice aren't very promising: Cops said less than 2 percent of the San Francisco's 31,000 car break-ins last year were prosecuted, the show reported.

Car owners are getting creative

Fed up with their vehicles getting broken into, some San Francisco residents are writing messages to would-be thieves on their car windows, telling them there's nothing of value inside to steal and even playing on their sympathies, saying they can't afford to keep repairing broken-into doors and windows.

Felix Kubin told KGO-TV that he hoped would-be thieves might "feel pity" or "empathy." He wrote on his driver's side window that there are "no valuables inside except baby's milk."

Kubin told the station $1,500 worth of sporting goods were stolen during the first break-in. A bag went bye bye after the second break-in, he added to KGO, but for the third break-in, all his official papers were stolen.

"My passport, social security, working permit, everything, it was my wallet, it was two phones," he told the station.

San Francisco Police Chief William Scott told KGO that messages on car windows is "creative and it does follow the strategy that people are taking responsibility. But on the other hand, it's really sad that people feel they have to do that."

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