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Smash-and-grab thief pilfers car with woman still inside, cops say

The post office at 68 Leland Avenue in San Francisco. | Courtesy Google Street View

A smash-and-grab thief pilfered a car with a woman still inside and then made off with a purse full of valuables, San Francisco police say.

The victim, 47-year-old Dawn Mitchell, said the purse held a laptop, cellphone and wallet with her ID—a combined value of $3,000 gone in an instant. But the loss mounted over the next 30 minutes, Mitchell said, when someone charged $1,400 to her stolen credit cards before she could cancel them.

Dawn Kobata Mitchell. | Courtesy Doug Mitchell

“[The suspect] came over and looked in,” Mitchell said. “I figured he’d leave when he saw me in the car—but no.”

Police said they responded around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday to a reported car burglary at Leland Avenue and Desmond Street, where Mitchell described how a man shattered her passenger window and reached for her purse.

Mitchell said the break-in happened while she was parked outside of the U.S. Post Office at 68 Leland Ave. and gathering her things before heading inside to mail some packages.

A struggle ensued, Mitchell said, until the man finally wrested the purse from her grasp and then fled to a white hatchback that peeled out of the parking lot.

Mitchell said the suspect was about 6 feet tall and wore a black hoodie.

When she returned to the same post office the next day, she said she felt gripped by anxiety.

“Going out I was like, ‘Oh, do I really want to go there again?'” she told The Standard.

The incident left her physically unscathed.

Police say they have yet to make an arrest.