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Police Beat: When Life Imitates TV
By Officer Lois Perillo
No, a movie crew was not filming on location at 24th and Diamond streets on May 8 at 3 p.m. Rather, an 18-year-old man, driving a Toyota with his 17-year-old sister on board, was trying to outrun a red sports utility vehicle (SUV) whose occupants were firing gunshots at them.
The Toyota driver said he first spotted the suspect vehicle as he drove east on upper Market Street. The red SUV followed his Toyota to Clipper, where shots were fired. One round hit the car and traveled into the Toyota driver's seat, where it bounced off, landing on the floorboards.
The Toyota driver turned left onto Dia-mond Street, and then tried to make a right turn onto eastbound 24th Street. But he was going too fast. He veered into the opposite lane, then crashed into a parked car, which in turn struck the car behind it.
Officer Lorraine Lombardo arrived on the scene first and found that the Toyota's occupants were not injured, nor were any bystanders hurt. Then she determined the path of the bullet. When I got there, I set out in search of evidence, and headed up Clipper Street. As unprobable as it seems, I found an apparently ejected bullet casing on Clipper near Douglass Street.
The Toyota driver described the SUV's occupants as "four Chinese guys." He and his sister both said that they did not know why they were pursued and shot at. Inspector Jason Hui of the Special Investigations Unit is handling the case.
He Stole the Phone Too
During April, there was only one reported robbery within the area of Noe Valley I cover. However, the long-haired suspect carried a weapon.
On Sunday, April 26, at 3:30 p.m., an 18- to 21-year-old man displayed a gun to a worker at Allure, a vintage clothing shop on Castro at 24th Street. He then demanded that she "open up the drawer" and give him the money.
When she complied, the suspect -- described as a white man, standing 5*9( and weighing 140 pounds, with a long red ponytail -- demanded and then took the store phone before fleeing.
Officer Lorraine Lombardo responded to the call and made the initial report. The case remains under investigation.
Sprinklers Do the Job
Wrap Works, the tortilla takeout on the block of 24th Street between Noe and Castro, was the site of a fire and police call-out in the wee hours of April 30.
David Dorantes and Robert Padrones were the first police officers to respond after the shop's burglar alarm sounded at 2:37 a.m. When the officers saw thick smoke pouring through the store's front window, they immediately summoned the Fire Department. The firefighters entered the business and found that a plastic container had apparently been left on the top of the stove. The stove's pilot light had ignited the container.
Luckily, Wrap Works' sprinkler system came on and doused the fire, but not before creating a large amount of smoke and triggering the burglar alarm.
Burglars Foiled in 5 of 13
Of the 13 reported burglaries within Noe Valley during April, five ended in arrests, which put six people in custody. The district attorney rebooked three of the cases and dismissed the other two, holding four people to answer burglary charges.
In one of the more distinctive cases, occurring April 25 at 6:30 p.m., a 39-year-old woman was arrested in the rear of Small Frys and Classy Sweats, two stores on the 4000 block of 24th Street. The suspect had apparently broken into the businesses' storage areas, causing a burglar alarm to sound. A 21-year-old woman living nearby heard the alarm, called police, and then confronted the suspect, whom she found making piles out of stolen items.
Sergeant Bob Barnes responded and arrested the suspect. Then reporting officers Diane McKevitt and Susan Moneyhun booked the woman, who was also found carrying a knife and pepper spray. The woman was released on her own re-cognizance, pending a court appearance.
On April 4 at 9:15 p.m., a 31-year-old man was arrested by Officer Chris Hayes on the 900 block of Guerrero Street. The suspect was charged with two felonies relating to auto burglary, and one misdemeanor. The accused man remains in custody, pending his June 3 court date.
On April 16, in another car burglary on the same block, two men, ages 20 and 19, were arrested by Officer Ellina Teper and charged with three felonies and one misdemeanor. The district attorney rebooked both men on three misdemeanors, and they were released pending an appearance in court.
The older man has since missed his court date, and the judge has issued a $10,000 warrant for his arrest.
A Slew of Auto Boosts
Of the 13 reported car break-ins during April, three ended in arrests.
On April 1 at 4:40 p.m., a 15-year-old male was arrested by Officers Leo Sevilla and Jack Wronski on the 300 block of San Jose Avenue, after an anonymous reportee phoned to say that someone wearing gloves had just broken into a parked Nissan. The officers found the teen inside the vehicle and subsequently booked him at Youth Guidance Center.
To explain his actions, the teen wrote, "The reason why I did it is because my parents wouldn't buy me a pair of shoes. So I figured I [would] make myself some money and buy my own pair of shoes."
A couple of weeks later, on April 17 at around 2 a.m., two 25-year-old men were nabbed, thanks to the help of a witness who reported a break-in at Hill and Guerrero streets.
Officers Sam Christ and Roshad McKeever responded and arrested the suspected car boosters, who were rebooked on three misdemeanor charges and released. One man failed to make his court date, and the judge issued a $5,000 warrant for his arrest.
Finally, on April 20 at 6:25 p.m., a 21-year-old man was arrested by Officer Brian Devlin after an anonymous man flagged the officer down to report that the suspect had just broken the window of a car on Cesar Chavez Street.
When Officer Devlin approached and saw the man inside the car, the suspect exited and fled. But the officer was speedy enough to catch up with him. Following the arrest, the suspect, who had cut his forearm on broken glass in the car, was treated at the hospital, booked, and then released pending a court date.
He failed to appear, and the judge issued a $10,000 warrant for his arrest.
Long and Short Sentences
The second man involved in the September 1997 strong-arm robbery at 26th and Noe streets was sentenced to three years in state prison on May 21. As reported in last month's Voice, the first man was committed to Atascadero Hospital for psychiatric treatment.
On May 12, the 52-year-old man and resident of the 3900 block of 25th Street twice accused of cocaine sales was sentenced to two days in jail for his first arrest. He also entered a guilty plea in the second case, to one count of felony possession for sales. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 9 in Superior Court.
A 44-year-old former resident of the 3800 block of 23rd Street has been asked to show proof to the judge that he is enrolled in a domestic violence treatment program. The court condition is a result of the man's April 10 sentencing after he assaulted his former live-in boyfriend.
As always, be safe and I'll see you on patrol.
San Francisco Police Officer Lois Perillo covers her beat by foot and by bicycle. Her turf extends from Valencia to Grand View and from 21st to Cesar Chavez Street. If you would like to discuss a neighborhood problem, call her at 558-5404, the community policing line at Mission Station. (For emergencies, dial 911.)