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Police Beat: Back in Business
By Officer Lois Perillo
As many of you know from last month's column, my partner Heather and I were involved in separate events that landed us in the hospital on June 6. We would like to thank the community for your outpouring of care and support.
Your cards, flowers, food, and words of encouragement meant a great deal to us. I returned to patrol duties on July 26, a little over six weeks after the assault.
Meanwhile, Oakland police showed me a photo lineup, giving me the opportunity to identify the woman who had kicked me in the face, run over Heather's dog, and struck me with her car -- breaking, tearing, and twisting many of my body parts.
I identified my assailant from the photos. An Alameda County judge issued a warrant, and the Oakland investigators arrested and booked the woman on two felony charges: assault with a deadly weapon (the vehicle) and "hit-and-run," leaving the scene of an injury accident without rendering aid.
She was initially held for 10 days on $40,000 bail, then her bail was reduced to $15,000, and she bailed out, probably by giving a bail bondsman 10 percent of the amount. By the time you read this, the suspect most likely will have appeared in court and entered a plea.
A case worker at Alameda County's Victim/Witness Assistance program has kept me up to date on the case, giving me a new dimension of appreciation for such workers. Until now, I knew their work only through reports from other victims of assault. Now I am one of those targeted by violence, making full use of the resources available, and glad to be alive.
The Return of the Termite -- or His Twin Brother
Unfortunately, the Termite may be back. That's the nickname the police gave the burglar who struck about a dozen businesses two years ago and who was captured hiding in the ceiling of Starbucks after tunneling through a wall of the store. The man, Larry Kraft, was arrested, convicted, and sent to jail -- then released last March. The recent string of burglaries began shortly thereafter, in May. So far, Noe Valley stores have suffered 16 break-ins -- six in May, five in June, and five in July.
The current suspect has not left his prints behind, though he tends to be relatively sloppy when he enters by prying windows or doors open. The few witnesses who've gotten a glimpse of him describe him as a white man in his 30s, 5'6", with a medium to stocky build and scraggly brown hair.
You can keep the Termite from invading your business by:
- Illuminating the back and side of your building.
- Replacing those rickety interior doors that were used in too many older buildings as back or side exterior doors.
- Installing solid-core doors and deadbolt locks with a minimum 2-inch bolt throw and a keyed lock on the inside of your main door. (If a perp gets in another way, you don't want him walking out the front door by just turning a latch.)
- Removing all cash from the register and leaving the cash drawer open.
- Periodically testing your alarm system.
- Securing your windows and alley doors, including the area above the door.
- Alerting any tenants living above your business and enlisting their watchful eyes and ears.
A Smattering of Summer Robberies
I don't have the figures for August yet, but in July Noe Valley reported just one robbery. On July 14 at 1:45 p.m., a 14-year-old boy was robbed of an undisclosed amount by a 17-year-old male while he waited at the 26th and Castro Muni bus stop.
The prior month, on June 26, a retail store on 24th near Noe was robbed at about 6 p.m. The robber was brandishing a gun, and was described as a white male in his 30s, 5*11(, 200 pounds, wearing a tan baseball cap and mirrored sunglasses.
According to police robbery inspectors, this suspect and his modus operandi matched other city robberies. Inspectors issued an SFPD crime bulletin showing several suspect sketches, which I distributed. Stop by one of the many local stores displaying the bulletin and take a look.
Earlier in the day on June 26, there was another robbery at the 26th and Noe Muni stop. Two 14-year-old boys robbed two 15-year-old boys at about 4 p.m.
The targeted teens left the scene and went home, where responding officers took their report.
Some Dusty Case Files
Robert O'Neal, the former Church Street resident charged in the murder of his 49-year-old tenant, David Soracchi, is scheduled to go to trial on Sept. 9 in Superior Court 22. O'Neal has been in custody since his arrest on Jan. 25, 1997.
The 35-year-old man and resident of the 400 block of 27th Street, charged with making death threats against two police officers on 24th Street in October 1997, completed court-ordered counseling and his charges were dismissed on June 11.
A 30-year-old woman and resident of the 4200 block of 25th Street pled no contest to charges of receiving stolen property. She got 10 days in county jail, three years probation, and 90 days of community service. As a condition of her plea bargain, the initial charge was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. The second charge of offering a false ID to a pawnbroker was dismissed.
A 44-year-old man and former resident of the 3500 block of 26th Street, who had pled guilty to felony spousal battery in May 1996 and was put on probation after serving 157 days in jail, re-offended in June. He was arrested and held on probation violation. On July 31 an additional year was tacked on to his probation term, which will now end in May 2000. The man was also ordered to attend counseling at ManAlive, a self-help group for men overcoming violence.
Just Another Day
On July 30, those of us who were in the 158th Recruit Class of the San Francisco Police Academy reached our 14th year of service. Happy anniversary to all!
Until next time, be safe and vigilant. 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 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.