Thief leaves odd clue behind in smash-and-grab spree in University Heights condo garage

Posted at 6:38 PM, Oct 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-21 21:51:03-04

SAN DIEGO - A smash-and-grab spree at a University Heights condo complex has a woman skittish about going into her own garage.

"I feel violated and I feel afraid. Anybody here should be afraid," said resident Lisa Riccairdulli.

Behind a closed garage door at a complex on Arizona Street, Riccairdulli made an upsetting discovery on Tuesday morning.

"I noticed a puddle of glass on the ground next to my car," said Riccairdulli.

The glass used to fit in one of the windows of her Ford Escape.

"I noticed my seats were down, and my car was completely ransacked," said Riccairdulli.

Among the missing items from the SUV were sunglasses, earbuds, jewelry and change.

Riccairdulli was hardly alone, as the windows on three other vehicles were smashed. Valuables, a car registration and a garage opener were stolen.

However, in all instances, there was an odd find. In all the vehicles -- even the ones that weren't broken into -- the windshield wipers were up.

It is believed the thief may have been marking which cars had already been looked at.

For Riccaidulli, the break-in marked the third time a thief has targeted her in two years, amid of a string of incidents in the complex; from break-ins and property damage, to bike and car thefts.

On Tuesday, she said the police officer responding to her case pointed to nearby Trolley Barn Park, a favorite among local families during the day.

"I was told it's a hotbed for 'tweakers.' A lot of homeless in the community, some are looking for quick money," said Riccairdulli.

Riccairduli also noticed an increase in homeless hanging out and sleeping next to her complex. She said if some in that population are eyeing her home, she's worried.

"I'm cautious every time I come to the garage. I'm just waiting for it to happen," said Riccairdulli.

Riccairdulli said the thief may have sneaked in when a resident left the garage door open by mistake.