Serra Mesa

Caught on Camera: Man Breaks Into Van as Witness Looks On

The victim caught the crime on camera and was shocked to see a witness do nothing about it

In a crime caught on surveillance video, a Serra Mesa homeowner said a thief broke into his van as a neighbor walked by, looked on and did nothing.

Patrick McDarby has lived in this normally quiet Serra Mesa neighborhood for the past couple of years. He said what happened to his van is upsetting, but what's even more disappointing is the non-reaction the crime received from the witness seen in the video.

"I've talked to neighbors and they all say that they haven't heard of any car break-ins, house break-ins, anything like that," he said.

McDarby's surveillance cameras around his home, however, tell a different story. McDarby said the cameras capture everything outside his home, especially when his family is asleep, and usually crime is not a concern.

But on Thursday morning, neighbors awoke to the sound of McDarby's van alarm blazing. Shattered glass from the window was sprinkled on the ground. McDarby rolled the footage to see exactly what happened.

His home surveillance video shows a man get out of a car and apparently check all the locks, then get back into his car and drive away. A few seconds later, the man returns, breaking the back window of McDarby's parked van. At one point, the suspect is seen almost hanging from the back of the van, attempting to get inside.

The van's alarm starts blasting.

At that point in the video, a new element moves into the screen: a person walks by and looks on, witnessing it all.

"The good Samaritan neighbor, you'd think he'd come by and do something but he didn't," McDarby said, disappointed.

McDarby has a lot of tools in his van for work that are tied down, so thankfully nothing was stolen.

He hopes this is a good reminder that if you see something suspicious in your neighborhood, make sure to say something -- or at least take a picture -- to help your fellow neighbor.

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