Chicago family visiting California had car broken into while their toddlers were sitting inside

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — A Chicago family visiting San Francisco became the victims of a smash-and-grab while they were sitting inside their car with their children.

Kimberly Balde and her sister Katherine Balde stopped their rental car near Lombard Street on Monday when it was broken into as they sat inside. Kimberly Balde said her bag was stolen along with her computer, a passport, the kids’ birth certificates and other items.

The family said crime in a big city isn’t new to them, but what shocked them the most was that they had small children in the backseat as it happened — an incident she said unfolded within seconds. Kimberly Balde said she heard a smash, yelled ‘No” and then jumped out of the car, but it was too late as it all happened so fast.

“You could see people were in the car. Each seat was taken and my two daughters were in the back, one’s two and one’s four and it was behind the 4-year-old and [she saw him],” Katherine Balde said. “He was wearing all black with a black ski mask and she said, ‘that ninja took that bag.'”

Kimberly Balde said she keeps an Apple Air Tag on her laptop, so she’s been able to track the suspect’s location ever since the break-in and provided that information to police.

A neighbor witnessed the break-in and took photos of the suspects and said three cars were circling the area and possibly involved in the crime.

Surveillance and cell phone video shows smash-and-grabs have happened in the same location over the past year. Chicago has seen a number of carjackings as well as smash-and-grabs in the area.

The sisters were aware of the crime happening in San Francisco before visiting but didn’t expect it to happen to them — especially not while they were inside their car.

“My cousin said it, though, from the very beginning, ‘You gotta watch it. They have smash-and-grabs here.’ Her boyfriend said it. We were extra careful,” Kimberly Balde said. “We were trying to be extra careful but when you’re not and you do let your guard down. We snoozed. We snoozed. We sure did.”

The sisters filed a police report with SFPD. No arrests have been made.

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