Noe Valley Voice December 2002 - January 2003

Police Beat

By Kathy Dalle-Molle

A 30-year-old Jersey Street resident wants to alert Noe Valley residents to a robbery and mugging that occurred in November at the corner of Vicksburg and Jersey streets.

The resident, who did not want to be identified publicly, said he was walking alone toward his apartment in the 100 block of Jersey Street about 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5, when two men accosted him and demanded money. They then put him in a headlock, rifled through his pants pockets, and fled with his wallet, containing $30 and credit cards.

"This is the last neighborhood I thought something like this would happen in," said the resident, who was shaken up but not otherwise injured. "I've always envisioned Noe Valley as the ultimate place to live in San Francisco, and I really thought it was a safe neighborhood."

Noe Valley Beat Officer Lorraine Lombardo told the Voice that Noe Valley is indeed a "nice, relatively safe neighborhood. Muggings are not a huge problem," she said. "But they happen more than you want to hear--probably about two times a month. It's usually in the dark. It's usually when a person is alone, and a lot of times it's when the person is feeling at ease, like when he's just walking home after having dinner at a restaurant."

The resident said he believes he was targeted "because there was no one else on the street and I looked like I was burdened, carrying a shopping bag and a large travel bag."

He also said he felt the incident might not have happened if the area had been better lit. "There are no streetlights on the southwest corner of Jersey, and there are none on Vicksburg. In fact, all of my block has very spotty lighting." (He and his partner are currently contacting city officials to find out how to get more lights on the street.)

Luckily for him, the resident was carrying his cell phone at the time of the attack. He immediately called police, and a squad car arrived within five minutes. The officers searched the area without success. But about 10 minutes later, the resident was in front of his building when he spotted the two suspects driving by in a 1980s white Camaro with a black top.

"The car had its headlights off, which got my attention," he said, "and there is a streetlight in front of my apartment, so when they drove under the light, I saw it was the two men." He and a friend ran after the Camaro to try to get a license plate number, but "all I could get was that the letters R and X were on the plate."

The resident flagged down another squad car to chase after the suspects, but the police were unable to catch them. The resident immediately cancelled his credit cards, but said the robbers later attempted to use them in San Bruno and Daly City.

The victim said both suspects appeared to be in their late teens or early 20s. One man was Hispanic, about 5889, of medium build, and wearing a white T-shirt and dark sweatpants. The other was African American, about 5879, also of medium build, and wearing a dark jacket, dark pants, and a ski hat.

The case has been assigned to SFPD's Robbery Division. Anyone with information is asked to call 553-1201.

Residents are invited to attend police-community meetings held monthly in the Mission and Ingleside police districts. The next Ingleside meeting will be Dec. 17, 7 p.m., at 1 Sgt. John Young Lane off San Jose Avenue (415-404-4000). The Mission Police District will not hold a December meeting; the next public meeting will be Jan. 28, 6 p.m., at Mission Station, 630 Valencia Street (415-558-5400).


The following crime summaries were culled from incident reports filed at Mission and Ingleside police stations during October 2002.

Theft from Building: Between noon on Tuesday, Sept. 24, and noon on Monday, Oct. 7; 4200 block of 20th Street

After being out of town for two weeks, a resident of the 4200 block of 20th Street (near Diamond) returned to her apartment on Oct. 7 and discovered that jewelry valued at $1,800 was missing from her bedroom dresser. The resident told police that she was in the process of moving out of her apartment and that while she was away, her landlord had shown the apartment to several prospective tenants. She also said she had locked the home before she left town and that the apartment was locked when she returned. Police found no sign of forced entry. The case has been assigned to the San Francisco Police Department's Burglary Division.

Residential Burglary: Between 1 and 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1; 1800 block of Church Street

An 88-year-old Church Street resident was walking with the aid of a cane along 19th Street near Mission in the early afternoon of Monday, Sept. 30, when a man in his 20s approached him and offered to give the senior citizen a ride home in his car. When the senior refused, the young man asked for his name and phone number, which the senior gave him.

Around 11 a.m. the next day, the young man called the senior and offered to bring him some donuts, and asked for his home address. The senior declined the donuts, but told the man his address. Two hours later, the young man, accompanied by a woman in her 20s, arrived at the senior's home with an apple pie. The senior let them inside, and the female asked the senior if he had any family photos. The senior pulled out a photo album, sat down on the couch with the couple, and began showing them his photos.

After looking at a few photos, the woman got up to use the bathroom. The young man continued to sit on the couch with the senior while the woman used the bathroom. The senior also saw her go into his bedroom. When the woman came back to the couch, her companion got up and told the senior they had to leave and that they would return the next day to check on him.

After the couple left, the senior went into his bedroom and discovered that $6,800 he kept in an envelope in his dresser drawer was missing. The man and woman did not return the next day as they had promised. The case has been assigned to SFPD's Burglary Division.

Residential Burglary: Between 8 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3, and 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5; 300 block of Jersey Street

The resident of a flat in the 300 block of Jersey Street (near Noe) returned home at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5, to find the window screen ajar in her bathroom, a door to her backyard unlocked, and a Macintosh laptop computer missing from a desk in her living room. She told police that she had secured her backyard door before leaving her home that morning, and that she had left her bathroom window open but that the screen was in place. She also told police that clothing inside her dresser had been moved, but that no items were missing. The last time she remembered seeing her laptop was at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3.

Police determined that an unknown suspect entered the flat through the bathroom window and left through the backyard door. Due to lack of physical evidence and because the resident had moved items before the police arrived, Crime Scene Investigations was not contacted. The case has been assigned to SFPD's Burglary Division.

Residential Burglary: Between 8:15 a.m. and 6:45 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4; 4300 block of 20th Street

A resident of the 4300 block of 20th Street (near Diamond) locked his apartment and left for work at 8:15 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 4. When he returned at 6:45 p.m., he noticed that the screen to his bedroom window was placed against the wall near his front door. He then went inside his apartment and discovered that his bedroom window had been opened, several items in his home had been moved, and his Compaq laptop computer was missing. The resident called police, who advised him not to touch anything until they arrived. Police also called Crime Scene Investigations to check the apartment for fingerprints. The case has been assigned to SFPD's Burglary Division.

Vandalism to Vehicle: Between 11:10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11, and 7:15 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12; 1700 block of Sanchez Street

A little after 11 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11, the resident of a home in the 1700 block of Sanchez Street (near Randall) heard a loud bang outside his house, but "did not think much of it" at the time. At 7:15 a.m. the next day, he discovered that the rear window of his red Ford station wagon, which was parked in the street in front of his home, had been shattered. Just behind the car, he found an expended bullet. When police arrived on the scene, they recovered the bullet and booked it as evidence at Ingleside Station. The case has been assigned to SFPD's Gang Task Force.

Theft and Stripping of Vehicle: Between 8 p.m on Friday, Oct. 18, and 10:10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19; Church and 27th streets

A 27th Street resident parked his green Acura hatchback on the northeast corner of 27th and Church streets at 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18. When he returned to the corner a little after 10 a.m. the next day, he found his car propped up on a tire jack with both the front and rear right tires and wheels stolen.

Mental Health Detention: 5:45 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24; 3900 and 4000 block of 24th Street

At 5:45 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24, a Noe Valley resident was at an ATM machine, located on 24th Street near Noe, when a man ran toward him and began yelling about a key. The resident told the man he did not have a key, but the man continued yelling and began waving his arms. By the time a police officer arrived, the man was in front of a nearby coffee store. When the officer asked the man for identification, he refused. The man then walked into the coffee store, sat down at a table, and started yelling. Another officer was called to the scene, and asked the man several questions he was unable to answer, including what day of the week it was. The man continued to behave erratically. The officers determined that he was a danger to others and transported him to San Francisco General Hospital for observation.

Stroller Theft: Between 3 and 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 30; 4000 block of 25th Street

At 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 30, a resident of the 4000 block of 25th Street (near Church) returned to her home to find her child's Peg Perego stroller--along with its contents, which included a fleece jacket and pants and a few toys--missing from the bottom of the front steps of her home, where it had been left by a babysitter an hour and a half earlier.

Bench Theft: Between 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31, and 12:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 1; 1000 block of Sanchez Street

When an employee of a church/community building in the 1000 block of Sanchez Street near Elizabeth left the building at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31, an antique cast-iron and wood bench was in its place in front of the building. Several hours later, a member of the church congregation passed by the building and noticed the bench was missing. When the employee came to work on Friday, Nov. 1, he also noticed that the bench, which has a pewter memorial plaque in its center, was missing. After speaking with the church member who first saw the bench was gone, the employee notified police. An officer searched the area, but did not find the bench.

The Voice thanks Mission Police Officer Lorraine Lombardo and Ingleside Officer Mike Smith for providing the incident reports for this month's Police Beat. The reports were summarized by Kathy Dalle-Molle.