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Police Beat: The Season of Giving-- and Taking
By Officer Lois Perillo
The good news is there were no Noe Valley robberies during the month of October. The bad news is that guns were used in the two robberies reported in early November.
On Monday, Nov. 13, at 2:50 p.m., a 35-year-old man hit Cotton Basics on the corner of 24th and Castro. He pointed a gun (or simulated one) through his jacket and demanded money from the person working behind the cash register. After the suspect took the money and left, the worker alerted a local merchant who happened to be in the shop, and she immediately ran out and looked for the robber. He had already fled the area, and got away with it -- for now.
In the second incident, two women in their 40s were walking at about 10 p.m. on the 4300 block of 23rd Street on Friday, Nov. 17, when they were approached by a man in his 20s brandishing a blue steel semi-automatic gun. When he demanded their money, the women remained focused and threw their purses a short distance away, which diverted the robber's attention to their property. He grabbed the purses, but dropped his cap while fleeing south on Douglass Street. A nearby resident phoned the police when he heard one of the women yelling at the departing robber. Luckily, neither woman was injured in the incident, and they were able to provide a detailed description of the suspect.
The Red-Handed Burglar
On Saturday, Nov. 13, at 3:45 p.m., a 45-year-old woman heard banging coming from the front of her downstairs neighbor's unit on the 1000 block of Noe Street. She investigated and found a 31-year-old man standing in front of the window, claiming he was fixing the window. Believing he was attempting to break in, but not wanting to tip off the suspect, the woman calmly replied, "Oh, okay," and returned to her flat, where she phoned police.
Officer David Manning, of the Canine Patrol, was first on the scene. He found the front window lock broken and the overconfident suspect right there in the flat, with several screwdrivers, jewelry, coins, and a credit card in his possession. After the "window repairman" was arrested, the residents of the flat came home and identified the stolen coins and some of the jewelry as theirs. Further investigation found that the remaining jewelry and the credit card were taken in an earlier burglary on Capp Street. In that case, the front door was forced open to gain entry--I wonder if he had said he was repairing the door.
The suspect was booked on four fel-onies and two misdemeanors, and he is presently residing at county jail, pending a December court case.
Kudos to the witness, whose clear thinking brought about the arrest of the perp.
Unfortunately, this was only one of two dozen break-ins reported to police in October and November (through Nov. 22). In October, nine houses were burglarized, along with one apartment, one construction site, and one store. In November, five apartments were hit, along with four houses, two flats, and one store.
Two of the burglaries were "hot prowls," where the suspect entered while the residents were at home. The first occurred Thursday, Oct. 19, at 3:45 p.m., on the 3700 block of 26th Street; the second happened on Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 11:05 a.m., on the 900 block of Guerrero Street. In both cases, the descriptions of the suspect were similar to that of the burglar caught red-handed in the Nov. 13 Noe Street incident.
Love Should Not Hurt
On Monday, Oct. 23, at 1 a.m., a 42-year-old woman was pushed by her 42-year-old husband and fell onto a desk, causing a laceration to her forehead. Both spouses had been drinking at their home on the 4300 block of Cesar Chavez Street. Upon arriving on the scene, Officer Matthew O'Leary summoned an ambulance to take the woman to the hospital and arrested the man, who was booked at county jail on a felony.
On Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 5:10 p.m., a 36-year-old woman who had been crying and disoriented was helped by a worker at Just for Fun on 24th Street after she said her husband pushed her down at Castro and 24th, injuring her ribs and ankle. As she told her story, the woman spotted her husband across the street, and the worker noted that the man's head and right hand were bloodied. The husband began to cross the street to approach the injured woman, but the Just for Fun employee told him to stay put. The man complied, but took off before police arrived. Officer Susan Nangle ordered an ambulance for the injured woman, who admitted that she and her husband had been drinking that day and that there was a history of domestic violence between them. Officer Nangle secured an emergency protective order, which barred the suspect from contacting his wife.
In the last case of October, on Sunday, Oct. 29, at about 11:15 a.m., a woman resident of the 4100 block of 26th Street reported that her 40-year-old husband had pushed her to the floor, injuring her right shoulder and knee. She said he had become angry about her retaining a house key to use upon her return from shopping. By the time Officer Lorraine Lombardo arrived on the scene, the husband had fled. The woman declined an ambulance, in favor of seeking her own medical aid. Officer Lombardo later secured an emergency protective order against the husband.
A Dangerous Defenestration
Two older teenage boys, involved in a fistfight in front of Lite for Life, at 1300 Sanchez, on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 3:45 p.m., broke the store's plate-glass window when one of them propelled the other into the pane. When the glass shattered, it sent thick shards toward two women and a 10-month-old baby who were inside the business. Both teens fled before Officer Josephine Anzalone's arrival.
Don't Touch Me There
In a disturbing case listed as sexual battery, a 32-year-old woman who had contracted for a paid massage from a male masseuse reported that the man had made touches that she believed were inappropriate and meant to sexually arouse her. The case was forwarded to both the Inspectors and Permit Bureaus for documentation, since the woman requested no further action at this time. Good for her, for coming forward to report the incident.
Where Are They Now?
The 21-year-old man who was arrested for vandalizing vehicles at 22nd and Chattanooga Street in June 1999 is continuing his participation in a pre-trial diversion project.
The 50-year-old man who was arrested for battery on a parking control officer on the 3300 block of 22nd Street in December 1999 was found guilty and has asked for a new trial.
The 40-year-old man who was arrested for aggravated assault and vandalism at the Rover's Bar in September 1999 completed his pre-trial diversion this November, and charges were dismissed.
The 34-year-old man arrested for spousal battery on the 1200 block of Dolores Street in February continues to appear in court for his progress reports. The same is true for the 37-year-old man arrested in February for non-cohabitant spousal battery on the 1300 block of Douglass Street. Both men are on probation for 36 months.
The 42-year-old man who was arrested for check forgery in April at Washington Mutual Bank failed to appear for his November court date, so the judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest.
The 47-year-old man who was arrested for shoplifting at Starbucks by an off-duty officer in May, and for strong-arm robbery at Global Exchange in September, failed to appear for his October court dates. The judge issued two bench warrants, but we only have to arrest him once.
The Never-Ending Con
A caller named Gwen reports that a Latin male in his late 30s came to her door on Jersey Street near Dolores and told her that he had chased away a person sleeping on her property. Then he announced that he was collecting for his daughter's peewee soccer team.
Now does this sound familiar? Shades of Jim the Con Man? "Jim" was the man who falsely solicited for his daughter's athletic team while representing himself as a block captain, SAFE worker, and even a police officer. Jim also opportunistically burglarized some of the homes he solicited.
I am happy to report that Gwen did not give money to this solicitor. Instead, she told him she requires documentation before she even thinks about giving.
So, a reminder as we enter the season of giving: Do give money to your favorite charities, and if you are so moved, give food and clothing to individuals. But please think twice about those solicitors who appear at your door. If they are collecting money for a group, they are required to register at the Police Permit Bureau, where they get an official ID card.
Anyone may ask for anything, anywhere, making up any kind of tall tale. But many solicitors are bullies and count on your discomfort when they invade your personal boundaries. They know you might give money just to get them to go away. Is this the true reason you want to give? Only you have the power to decide.
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...
I'm in my sixth month of pregnancy and feeling good--except for the burning in my shoulders. I've gained about 18 pounds and I mostly walk for exercise. A few weeks ago, we had the big ultrasound and firmly told the doc that we did not want to know the baby's sex. Heck, we already had the CVS (a chromosomal test similar to an amnio) at 12 weeks, and could have known then. Our friends and my mother think that Heather and I should elect to know or that we at least ought to give our permission so that they can know!
I'd like to give a special welcome to baby Ella, who made her debut on Monday, Nov. 20, at 11:21 p.m., weighing 8 pounds, 10 ounces. Congratulations to Serina and Lisa! In just three short months, Ella, you'll have a cousin.
As the winter solstice approaches and the daylight grows short, I wish everyone a peaceful holiday. Be safe and continue to watch out for one another. My fellow officer and partner Lorraine Lombardo will see you on patrol.
San Francisco Police Officer Lois Perillo keeps tabs on crime from Valencia to Grand View and 21st to Cesar Chavez Street. If you would like to discuss a crime or safety problem, call her at 558-5404, the community policing line at Mission Police Station, 630 Valencia St.