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Police Beat: Crimes Go Down In March
By Officer Lois Perillo
The number of reported robberies on my turf in Noe Valley dropped to just one during the third month of 1998, down from four in February. But the sole robbery was an unhappy one.
On March 12 at 1:30 a.m., a 30-year old man entered Happy Donuts at Church and 24th Street, brandished a gun, and ordered the 54-year-old store clerk to hand over the money from the register. She complied and the bandit fled the store.
The suspect was described as a white man, standing 5 feet 3 inches, weighing 125 pounds, with brown hair. If you saw a man matching this description or have any information regarding this case, please call Inspector Robert Paco of the San Francisco Police Robbery Detail, 553-9249.
Car Boosts Plunge from 33 to 9
Perhaps the most common crime in San Francisco is the car break-in, in which a thief breaks into your car to steal a radio, cell phone, or box of CDs. At SFPD's Hall of Justice, this crime is classified as a theft -- specifically, an auto boost. But if we catch the suspect, the crime becomes auto burglary.
Though I have been statistically tracking auto boosts for 10 years by running a monthly computer report, I just began plotting their locations on a map last October. The news was grim the first few months. And during February, Noe Valley suffered 33 auto boosts.
However, in one of those break-ins, occurring the early morning of Feb. 8, a Noe Valley resident's alert observation and prompt call to police netted a 24-year-old suspect. The man was charged with three auto burglaries committed near Vicksburg and Elizabeth streets (as reported in my column in the April Voice).
Experience has shown me that one suspect is often responsible for repeated boosts within an area. If that suspect is taken off the street and another booster does not take his place, the number of break-ins will decline.
The Vicksburg Street suspect has remained in custody since his arrest, awaiting trial. Since then, the number of reported auto boosts dropped to nine in March. That's 24 fewer than in February.
Also, on March 23 at 2:25 a.m., Officer Angel Lozano spotted an 18-year-old man at 22nd and Dolores streets holding property that appeared to be stolen from a nearby car. The man ran when Lozano approached, and practically the entire midnight watch at Mission Station, including Officers Trenia Wearing, Raymond Lee, Dean Bacciocco, Martha Juarez, Ellina Teper, Becki Newman, Glen Ortega, and Jose Lopez, responded to Officer Lozano's call for backup. They all helped catch the suspect at Guerrero and Elizabeth streets.
After an investigation, Lozano located the boosted car and its owner. Sure enough, the goods had been stolen. The suspect was charged with auto burglary, possession of burglary tools, and delaying an investigation.
The man is no longer in jail, however. The district attorney dismissed the case "in the interest of justice."
This One's a Keeper
A 35-year-old man was arrested after a local man witnessed him trying to steal a car parked on the 4300 block of 25th Street on Friday night, March 27, at about 9:30 p.m. The witness first questioned the man, who said he was fixing his car. Suspecting that the man was not telling the truth, the witness phoned police.
Officers Susan Nangle and Ray Salvador responded, along with Mike Robison and Davin Cole. Upon arrival, the police spotted the suspect walking away from the targeted vehicle and detained him. After the witness identified the suspect, and the targeted car's owner was located on the next block, the suspect was taken into custody and charged with attempted auto theft (a felony) and possession of burglary tools (a misdemeanor).
Later, the district attorney rebooked him on a prior misdemeanor auto theft charge and retained the burglary tool charge. He was issued a citation to appear in court to answer the charges.
Watch Your Parking Meters
A 19-year-old man has been arrested twice for trying to steal money from city parking meters. Witnesses saw the suspect using a key to open 24th Street meters near Sanchez Street, first on Feb. 18 at 1:45 a.m. and then on March 17 at 1:30 a.m. Police nabbed him both times.
In the first case, the suspect was booked on two felonies and a misdemeanor. But the district attorney later withdrew the complaint. In the second arrest, the man was charged with two misdemeanors, which the district attorney rebooked. The suspect has been released on bail, pending a court appearance.
You Can Run, But You Can't Hide
On March 27, Officer Stephanie White was standing on Church Street near 22nd, awaiting a tow for a car with an extremely expired registration, when the car's owner suddenly appeared and slipped behind the wheel of his yellow convertible. Officer White had parked her patrol car a half a block away (to allow the J-car's unimpeded passage), so she was not able to make it to her own vehicle before the convertible owner drove from the scene. But she got a good description of him.
A few days later, around 3:00 in the afternoon, Officer White got her man -- a 39-year-old resident of the 1000 block of Church Street. And this time she was successful in towing his car. Now, rather than just having to properly register his vehicle, the man will have to explain to Sergeant John Haggett of the Inspector's Bureau why he fled the scene.
A Bloody Nose on Muni
On March 20 at 3 p.m., a 34-year-old man who was riding the outbound J-Church as it approached 22nd Street was assaulted by two 18-year-old males.
The older man reported that he was first struck by accident as the teens roughhoused with each other near where he sat. The man told the teens to "calm down," but was met with angry words. So he walked forward to notify the J driver, then returned to his seat. That's when one of the teens punched him, bloodying his nose. The older man fought back, but when the streetcar stopped at 22nd Street, the teens fled.
Though the LRV driver radioed his dispatch unit, police were unable to get there in time to make an arrest.
Curses, Foiled by Just for Fun!
Meanwhile, the gang at Just for Fun caught two 14-year-old girls who stole diaries and notebooks from the store by tucking the items into their waistbands before exiting. The merchandise was bugged, and an alarm sounded when the young women walked out the shop's front door onto 24th Street.
Officer George Leong responded and took custody of the girls, then booked them at Youth Guidance Center.
What Ever Happened to...
One of two men arrested in a September 1997 robbery at Noe and 26th streets has been found guilty of second-degree robbery -- a felony -- and is awaiting sentencing while being housed in county jail. The second man will most likely be sent to Atascadero Hospital for psychiatric help, in lieu of a jail sentence.
Remember the boyfriend/girlfriend team, former residents of Church Street, who were accused of bludgeoning a Mission Street pawnbroker to death in October 1994? Both have remained in custody since their 1997 arrests and were recently found guilty of murder. The 32-year-old woman received 11 years in state prison, while the 41-year-old man got 12.
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.)