How Did the State of California Have 19 Cars Stolen Memorial Day Weekend?

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SACRAMENTO -- At the State of California parking garage, there's a warning whenever a car pulls out.

It turns out that the California Department of General Services had a warning, too, when their cars were being stolen from its garage over Memorial Day weekend.

According to records obtained by FOX40, police gave them a call Monday, May 29, but nobody answered. For hours the break-ins just kept happening until 1 a.m. the following Tuesday.

Nineteen cars in all, with a total worth of $173,356.

And the cars started to crash --  one into the back of a car near Southside Park in downtown Sacramento.

Another into a home in an Oak Park neighborhood.

In both cases, police say they were chasing the underage drivers who had the stolen cars before they crashed.

But according to the records obtained by FOX40, for nearly a day and a half after the last break-in, the state's Chief of Fleet and Asset Management had no idea how many cars were missing. In an email sent the following Wednesday at 10:17 a.m., he confirmed only six cars were gone -- not 19.

The state was slow in releasing the information. In fact, for two months, the State of California's Department of General Services put off FOX40's records request. Until finally, on August 11, they did a document dump of over 150 pages of emails. It may be a coincidence that on the same day they issued a memo to all State Employees who park in the garage, telling them they'd put in extra security measures.

It's still not exactly clear how a bunch of kids managed to rip off nearly $200,000 in cars from the State of California, but a line buried in an email may offer a hint -- it says a checklist has been created to verify that vehicle keys are properly locked up.

So far, only one of the stolen cars is still missing. The California Highway Patrol has yet to charge any of the juveniles caught with car theft on this case.