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Burglars on the Prowl for Vacant Houses
Burglars hit several Noe Valley homes during January, and Beat Officer Lorraine Lombardo tells the Voice that the thieves seem to be targeting unoccupied homes undergoing construction.
"Signs of construction, such as scaffolding along the property, seem to really draw thieves lately," reports Lombardo. She also says that police do not currently have reason to believe the burglaries are being committed by the same thief or group of thieves.
To improve home safety, Lombardo encourages residents to keep their doors and windows locked, get to know their neighbors, watch out for one another's property, and pay attention to any suspicious occurrences on their street, particularly in vacant buildings. They also can notify her of recurring problems by calling 558-5400.
The following crime summaries were culled by Voice writer Kathy Dalle-Molle, with the assistance of Officer Lombardo, from incident reports filed at Mission Station during January 2002.
Burglary and Unlawful Entry of a Residence: Between 9 a.m. on Dec. 21, 2001, and 4 p.m. on Jan. 2, 2002; 3800 block of 24th Street
The resident of an apartment in the 3800 block of 24th Street told police that she had locked all the windows and doors of her home before leaving on Friday, Dec. 21, but when she returned on Wednesday, Jan. 2, the front door was no longer locked and her mail had been opened. The resident also found the shade of her bedroom window up and the window unlocked.
Police searched the apartment but found no pry marks or tampering of the bedroom window, front door, or any other doors or windows in the home. The unknown suspect had rummaged through the resident's clothing, jewelry box, and kitchen cabinets, poured coins from a jar onto the livingroom couch, and placed the resident's CDs in a bag in the middle of the living room. The suspect, who must have been startled, failed to take any items, except for a house key, which was hanging on a hook next to the front door.
Police gave the resident a follow-up form and contacted Crime Scene Investigations to come to the home. The building landlord also installed new locks for the tenant.
Vehicle Burglary: 4:23 a.m. on Jan. 11; 800 block of Elizabeth Street
In the early morning of Friday, Jan. 11, police were dispatched to an auto burglary in progress at the corner of Elizabeth and Hoffman streets. A witness called police from his cell phone after seeing the suspect use a tool to force open the lock on the passenger door of a Saab 900 sedan. The witness told the suspect to get out of the vehicle and that he had called the police. The suspect, a 38-year-old male, then rode away on a black mountain bicycle.
Police spotted the suspect riding his bicycle along Vicksburg near 24th Street and tried to detain him, but he rode around the officers at a high speed, eventually losing traction and falling off the bike. He then ran away, with police following on foot. Eventually, the suspect stumbled and fell against a parked car on the 400 block of Vicksburg. Police handcuffed him and conducted a search of his clothing and the backpack he was carrying. Inside his waistband, they found a dagger with a four-inch, double-sided blade. The backpack contained a Kenwood car stereo, which police believed to be stolen, and several tools, including three wrenches, a small flashlight, and a rubberband with wire, which police believed was used to break into the Saab.
The witness positively identified the suspect, who was transported to Mission Station for booking. A record check revealed that the man was on probation and had several previous arrests and convictions for burglary.
Residential Burglary and Unlawful Entry: Between 10 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 22; 3800 block of 24th Street
The resident of an apartment in the 3800 block of 24th Street told police that when he left his home around 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 22, all his windows and doors were secured, except for the back door, which was closed but not locked. When his roommate returned home at 9:30 that night, he found the front door unlocked. When the resident who reported the crime came in, he found his X-Box game console missing from the living room and a Toshiba laptop computer, a Canon digital camera, a Sony Camcorder, and a gym bag missing from his bedroom, with the clothes from the gym bag splayed on the bed.
Police determined that an unknown suspect entered through the unlocked back door and left through the front door. Police contacted Crime Scene Investigations to dust the resident's laptop desk for fingerprints. The case was assigned to the SFPD Burglary Division.
Burglary of Unoccupied Home: Between 6 and 6:30 a.m. on Jan. 28; 4200 block of 25th Street
Around 9:45 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 28, a homeowner drove by his yet to be occupied house in the 4200 block of 25th Street and noticed that the garage door, valued at $1,800, had been smashed and broken. Upon entering the home, he found a chop saw, two nail guns, and a compressor, valued at close to $2,000, missing. A neighbor told him that early that morning he had heard tires squeaking along with a crunching noise. He looked out his front window and spotted a white truck pulling away from the new homeowner's driveway. Because it was dark outside and the truck's lights were off, the neighbor was unable to see who was driving.
Due to lack of physical evidence, police did not call Crime Scene Investigations for follow-up. The case was forwarded to the SFPD Burglary Division.
Shoplifting: 7:40 a.m. on Jan. 29; 4000 block of 24th Street
Three male suspects, aged 18 to 25, entered a drugstore in the 4000 block of 24th Street at 7:40 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29. One suspect asked a store employee for assistance at the film display rack, while the other two suspects walked to the cigarette display. They took a box of Marlboros and fled the store, with the first suspect following. All three got inside a white four-wheel-drive vehicle and drove away, down 24th Street toward Mission.
Petty Theft with Prior Conviction: 11:20 a.m. on Jan. 29; 3900 block of 24th Street
In the late morning of Tuesday, Jan. 29, police responded to a report of a shoplifter being held by a parking control officer in the 3900 block of 24th Street. The parking control officer said she had witnessed the suspect, a 30-year-old female, set off a store's shoplifting alarm and try to flee the scene. When the owner of the store tried to stop her from leaving, she pulled away from him, and five leather address books, valued at $97.60, fell to the floor from underneath her jacket. The suspect was taken to Mission Station for booking, and fingerprint records showed that she had an arrest record and two outstanding warrants for petty theft and burglary.
Burglary and Unlawful Entry of a Residence Under Construction: Between 8:15 p.m. on Jan. 30 and 9 a.m. on Jan. 31; 500 block of Diamond Street
The owner of a home under construction in the 500 block of Diamond Street called police to report several clothing items along with a calculator and checkbook missing from his home. Police believe an unknown suspect entered the home sometime in the late evening hours of Wednesday, Jan. 30, or the early morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 31, through an unlocked window in the front of the home. Due to lack of physical evidence, Crime Scene Investigations was not notified, but an additional loss form was left with the home's owner, and the case was forwarded to the SFPD Burglary Division.
Burglary and Forced Entry of Residence Under Construction: Between 5 p.m. on Jan. 30 and 7 a.m. on Jan. 31; 800 block of Elizabeth Street
The owner of a construction company working on a home in the 800 block of Elizabeth Street arrived for work at the residence at 7 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31, to find the front door of the home forced open. He noticed that several tools, including hammers and saws valued at almost $3,000, along with a Sony radio, were missing.
The case was forwarded to SFPD's Burglary Division, and the owner of the construction firm was given a loss form to fill out for insurance purposes.
Car Vandals Use Ketchup
A resident, who lives on 30th Street between Noe and Sanchez, wants to alert his Upper Noe neighbors to be on the lookout for vehicle vandals in the area. Between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, and again on Saturday, Feb. 2, the resident had the roof, hood, and windows of his white Ford Ranger truck smeared with barbecue sauce and ketchup. On Tuesday, Feb. 5, also between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6:30 a.m., the convertible roof of his roommate's Mazda Miata was slashed.
The roommates say that the vehicles were parked in front of their 30th Street flat in each instance, and they have filed reports with Ingleside Police Station. If you have information or were a witness to these incidents of vandalism, please call Ingleside police at 404-4000.
New Ingleside Captain Traces Father's Footsteps
Kevin Dillon, a 27-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department, joined Ingleside Station as captain in January. Dillon, whose father and uncle also were members of the SFPD, replaced Marsha Ashe, who spent three years at Ingleside and is now captain of Richmond Station. (The department rotates its station captains frequently.)
Dillon comes to Ingleside from Central Station in the northeastern part of the city, where he served as captain for two years. Before that, he worked as a captain in the Investigations Division for three years.
The Brisbane resident tells the Voice that since taking command of Ingleside Station he's been "working on acclimating myself to the area, getting to know the community groups and problems and issues in the district." He encourages Noe Valley neighbors and merchants who are within Ingleside Police District to contact him with any problems or invite him to speak at community meetings.
"We have young, highly motivated officers at this station, who really want to be responsive to the needs of the community," he says.
Although he hasn't spent much time in the district in recent years, Dillon says his ties to the area go way back. "My father was walking the beat in the Mission when I was born," he says, "and when I was little, my family lived on Mission Street near Geneva."
Noe Valley straddles two San Francisco police districts. The Mission Police District, headquartered at 630 Valencia Street, covers the northern half of Noe Valley from 21st Street to Cesar Chavez. Ingleside Police Station has jurisdiction over the southern half of Noe Valley, from Cesar Chavez to Glen Park.
Mission residents and merchants may report a recurring crime or safety problem by phoning the station at 558-5400. (To report anonymously on drugs, gangs, or other crimes, call the nontraceable hotline at 558-5452.) Mission Captain Greg Corrales also invites you to attend the police-community meetings held at Mission Station on the last Tuesday of the month. The next meeting will be March 26 at 6 p.m.
You may also send e-mail to
Residents and merchants in "outer" Noe Valley may contact Ingleside Station by calling 404-4000 or e-mailing Captain Kevin Dillon at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Ingleside police-community meetings are held the third Tuesday of the month at Ingleside Station, at 1 Sergeant John Young Lane near the 2000 block of San Jose Avenue. The next meeting will be March 19 at 7 p.m.
To report a crime in progress, call 911. (Cell phone users, dial 553-8090.)