San Francisco boba tea shop was front used to sell items stolen in car burglaries, D.A. says
A San Francisco boba tea shop was used as a front in a widespread scheme to fence thousands of items taken in vehicle burglaries, authorities said Tuesday.
After a citywide investigation by the San Francisco district attorney’s office into a rash of car burglaries, Quoc Le was arrested and charged with 12 counts of possession of stolen property — eight felonies and four misdemeanors, prosecutors said.
Investigators had set up bait cars with laptops and other items in plain view, then tracked the items after they were stolen. One of the laptops led them to Le and the boba shop in the Tenderloin district, which the San Francisco Chronicle identified as a Quickly cafe owned by Le’s wife, who was not charged with a crime.
At the shop, the district attorney’s office said, authorities recovered about 1,000 electronic items and $13,000 in cash Monday.
Le, who the district attorney’s office alleged was a known fence, took possession of the bait laptop in a parking lot, and the computer was traced to the boba tea shop, then to FedEx and through the delivery process.
A misdemeanor firearms case against David Lacey has been dismissed after he finished a diversion program, his attorney said.
Additionally, two victims of car burglaries, including one from Morgan Hill, more than an hour’s drive south of San Francisco, tracked their stolen electronic devices to the boba shop.
Investigators obtained search warrants to track Le’s car and gained access to his cellphone and shipping and business records.
“Through this work, investigators were able to establish a pattern of Mr. Le buying and selling stolen goods from all over the Bay Area out of his business,” the district attorney’s office said in a release.
Some of the stolen goods were shipped to Southern California and internationally to Vietnam and Hong Kong, officials said.
“Car break-ins have been a longstanding problem in San Francisco for at least the past decade,” San Francisco Dist. Atty. Chesa Boudin said in the release. “We hope that this sends a strong message to deter anyone considering breaking into a car or buying stolen goods: we are watching, and you will be held accountable.”
The release said the bait cars have led to “numerous investigations, some of which remain ongoing and confidential.”
Start your day right
Sign up for Essential California for news, features and recommendations from the L.A. Times and beyond in your inbox six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.