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Nasty Robber Targets Older Women
Over the past year, a "home-invasion robber" has been targeting elderly women living alone in San Francisco. Although in mid-April this man had not yet struck in Noe Valley, according to neighborhood beat officer Lorraine Lombardo, he has robbed 12 women in other parts of the city.
Lombardo says the man typically hits during the first week of the month. Posing as a construction worker or repairman, he rings the doorbell of an older woman's home and tries to gain entry by saying he is working down the street and needs to use her phone or restroom. "He then ties up the woman, beats her, robs her, and takes off on foot," says Lombardo.
The suspect is described as an African American male, aged 35 to 45, 68, 240 pounds, with a light complexion, round face, large hands, and short, curly brown hair. He usually wears a baseball cap, is clean-cut, and very polite.
"This guy really knows what he's doing," says Lombardo, "and with so many homes undergoing construction in Noe Valley, he could easily pose as a construction worker here."
Lombardo cautions seniors, or anyone living alone, to avoid opening the door to an unexpected caller -- and even if a repairman is expected, ask to see identification before letting the person inside.
The case is being handled by the SFPD Burglary Division. Call 553-1351 if you have information relating to this case.
The following crime summaries were culled from incident reports filed at Mission Police Station in March 2002.
Bicycle Theft: Between 7 and 9 a.m. on March 10; Hoffman and Elizabeth streets
At 7 a.m. on Sunday, March 10, an Elizabeth Street resident chained his Cannondale bicycle to a pole at the corner of Hoffman and Elizabeth streets. When he returned two hours later, he found his bicycle had been stripped of several parts, including the front wheel, handlebars, shifter, and brakes. The parts were valued at more than $500. The suspect was still at large last month.
Mental Health Detention: 2:32 p.m. on March 10; 24th and Diamond streets
On the afternoon of Sunday, March 10, police were called to the corner of 24th and Diamond streets to investigate a man allegedly threatening people on the sidewalk. When officers arrived, the 47-year-old man, presumed to be homeless, was yelling and seemed "highly agitated and excitable." He told police that he wanted "to bomb Osama bin Laden and the rest of the world." He also said he was on medication, but that he hadn't eaten or taken his medicine for at least a week. Paramedics were called to the scene because the suspect claimed he "hurt all over his body." Police determined that the man was not able to care for himself and transported him to San Francisco General Hospital for evaluation and treatment.
Theft from Building: Between 11 a.m. on March 13 and 3 p.m. on March 15; 4200 block of Cesar Chavez Street
A resident of an apartment in the 4200 block of Cesar Chavez Street near Castro told police that she left town at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 13. When she returned two days later, she discovered that a man she had been subleasing a room to had moved out. In addition, several items, including a cell phone, headphones, a diamond ring, and a wedding band, were missing from her living room and bedroom. Also missing were her passport, bank checks, social security card, and other identification papers.
The resident told police that she had recently asked the tenant to move out because he had failed to make rent payments. Police found no signs of forced entry and advised the resident to change her door locks. The case was forwarded to the SFPD Burglary Division.
Aggravated Assault with a Vehicle: 4:10 p.m. on March 14 at 23rd and Dolores streets
A man was driving west on 23rd Street near Dolores at 4:10 p.m. on Thursday, March 14, when he noticed a four-door burgundy sedan coming toward him in the middle of the road. The driver of the burgundy car appeared agitated and was swearing. The first man honked his horn, pulled over to the south side of the street, and stopped his car. The other man then looked at him and drove his vehicle straight into the first man's car, ramming his front bumper. The first man got out of his car and started walking away toward the sidewalk. The other driver then backed up his vehicle and sped off, almost hitting the first man.
Neither the victim nor an eyewitness to the incident was able to provide a license-plate number for the burgundy sedan, but both said they would be able to identify the driver, described as a white male, aged 50 to 55, 58109, weighing 180 pounds, with blond hair, blue eyes, and a moustache.
Police searched the area, but were unable to locate the suspect. However, a piece of his car's bumper, which was lying on the ground in front of the victim's car, was booked into evidence at Mission Station.
How to Contact the SFPD
Noe Valley straddles two San Francisco police districts -- Mission and Ingleside -- each with its own turf. Mission police cover the northern half of Noe Valley, from 21st Street to Cesar Chavez Street. Ingleside police have jurisdiction over the southern half of Noe Valley, from Cesar Chavez Street to Glen Park.
Those residents and merchants who live and work within the Mission Police District can report recurring crime or safety problems by phoning Mission Station at 558-5400. They may also send e-mail to Captain Greg Corrales at firstname.lastname@example.org, or attend police-community meetings held the last Tuesday of the month. The next meeting will be Tuesday, May 28, at 6 p.m., at Mission Station, 630 Valencia Street. (To report anonymously on drugs, gangs, or other crimes, call the nontraceable hotline at 558-5452.)
Residents and merchants in "outer" Noe Valley -- south of Cesar Chavez -- can contact Ingleside Station by calling 404-4000 or e-mailing Captain Kevin Dillon at email@example.com. The Ingleside police-community meetings take place the third Tuesday of the month at Ingleside Station, 1 Sergeant John Young Lane, near the 2000 block of San Jose Avenue. The next meeting will be Tuesday, May 21, at 7 p.m.
To report a crime in progress, call 911. (Cell phone users, dial 553-8090.)
The Voice thanks Noe Valley Beat Officer Lorraine Lombardo for providing the incident reports for this month's Police Beat. The reports were summarized by Kathy Dalle-Molle.