Noe Valley Voice February 2003

Police Beat

Noe Valley experienced a sharp rise in residential burglaries during the 2002 holiday season (see story "Rash of Burglaries...," elsewhere in this issue). In fact, there were so many burglaries reported in November and December--41 in all--that we have chosen not to describe each incident in detail.

Instead, we asked illustrator Karol Barske to plot the burglaries on a map, to see if any clusters appeared. As you can see, the break-ins were scattered throughout the neighborhood, although Dolores, Church, and Chattanooga streets appeared particularly hard-hit.

Meanwhile, a number of other crimes also occurred in Noe Valley. The following incidents, summarized by Voice reporter Kathy Dalle-Molle, were culled from reports filed at Mission and Ingleside stations from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, 2002. They took place in an area bounded by 21st Street, Guerrero, 30th Street, and Grand View. The Voice thanks Mission Police Officer Lorraine Lombardo and Ingleside Police Officer Mike Smith for making their police reports available.

Theft from an Unlocked Vehicle: Between 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 4, and 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5; 1700 block of Sanchez Street

A resident of Sanchez Street near 30th parked his Volvo sedan inside his garage the afternoon of Monday, Nov. 4. When he went to get his car the next morning, he discovered that the remote control for the garage door was not working and the door, although closed, was unlocked. He also found the contents of his car strewn about and the lid to his trunk open. A backpack had been emptied into the trunk, but the only item missing from the car was a Nokia cell phone.

The resident told police that because his garage is very small, he leaves the driver's-side door to his Volvo open so he can get inside more easily. He also said his garage door's electronic release handle had been loose for a while and was hanging on the outside of the door.

The resident had cleaned up the interior of his car and trunk before police arrived. Due to lack of evidence, Crime Scene Investigations was not called. The case has been assigned to the San Francisco Police Department's Auto Detail.

Theft from a Locked Vehicle: Between 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7, and 8 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 8; Diamond and Alvarado streets

On Thursday night, Nov. 7, a woman parked and locked her Acura Integra at the corner of Diamond and Alvarado streets. When she returned to her car the next morning, she noticed that the remote to her car's alarm did not work and that the rear seats were folded down. She also discovered that the car's ignition had been damaged, the right rear tire slashed, and the trunk's lock punched out. In addition, a tennis racquet, racquetball racquet, and a "Club" safety device were missing from the car.

The owner of the car told police that her door locks had not been damaged and that she believed the thief or thieves had entered her car through the trunk (since the passenger side of the car is also accessible from the trunk).

Street Robbery: 11:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8; Castro and 26th streets

A Noe Valley resident was walking south on Castro Street near 26th Street at 11:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8, when he noticed three male teenagers standing across the street. When one of the teens asked if he had any money, the resident responded, "No, sorry," and continued walking. The three teens began to follow and taunt him. The resident then heard a clicking noise and turned around and saw one of the teens holding an open switchblade knife, with a three- to four-inch blade.

The resident continued walking south on Castro, but backwards so he could face the three teenagers. He accidentally walked into a parked car and was pinned against the vehicle as the three teens stood in front of him. The teen with the knife continued to hold it toward the resident while another teen told the resident to empty his pockets. The resident complied, but when the teens determined he had no cash, only a few coins, they yelled an obscenity and then ran northbound on Castro and eastbound on Clipper. The resident immediately called police from his cell phone.

Police responded to the scene and spotted three teenagers walking in the 300 block of Clipper Street. When an officer pulled over and exited her car, the teens scrambled and ran into one another. The officer then heard a "tink" sound. Several other officers quickly responded to the scene, and the three teens were detained. No knife was found during a pat search of the teens. However, police discovered the knife in a small ditch nearby.

The teenagers, all 14 years of age, were transported to Mission Station. After their families were notified, two of the teens were booked at Youth Guidance Center. The third teen was released.

Store Robbery: 5:40 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27; 1400 block of Church Street

An employee of a gift store in the 1400 block of Church Street near 27th Street was alone in the shop at 5:40 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27, when a man came in holding what the employee believed to be a gun inside a brown sandwich bag. He pointed the bag at the employee and said, "This is a robbery. Open the drawer and give me the money." The employee gathered a total of $350 from the cash register and handed it to the man. The man then told her, "My partner is outside. If you call for help in the next five minutes, my partner will come in and hurt you."

The employee told police that she believed the man's threat and waited to call for help. She also told police that the man did not touch anything in the store and that the front door was already open when he walked in.

The employee described the suspect as a white male, 6 feet, 170 pounds, age 29 to 35, with black hair. He was wearing a gray fisherman's hat, dark sunglasses, and a white T-shirt. Police broadcast the suspect's description to patrol cars on duty. Officers also searched the area, but did not find the suspect. The case has been assigned to the SFPD's Robbery Detail.

Car Theft: Between 2 and 5 a.m., on Thursday, Dec. 5, Sanchez and Clipper streets

At 2 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5, a Noe Valley resident parked his red 1992 Honda Civic SI hatchback on the corner of Sanchez and Clipper streets. He locked the car, put on the alarm, and went inside his home across the street. A few hours later, his partner looked out the window and noticed the car was gone. In early January, police discovered the car in the Outer Mission near College Avenue. The car had been stripped of its front passenger seat, rear seats, passenger-side door panel, dashboard, speedometer, air conditioner, wheels, radio, and speakers.

Two other cars also were stolen in the neighborhood during November and December. A 1988 four-door beige Honda Accord was taken from Chattanooga and 22nd streets sometime between 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16, and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17. A 1990 four-door light blue Toyota Corolla was taken from the corner of Alvarado and Castro streets between 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1.

Shoplifting: 10:25 a.m., 5:55 p.m., and 9:25 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7; 3900 block of 24th Street

On Saturday morning, Dec. 7, a man walked out the front door of a stationery store in the 3900 block of 24th Street, and the shop's alarm sensors sounded. Two employees asked the man to come back into the store. The man complied, and as he walked back inside, the sensors sounded again. The owner of the store believed that some old CDs the man had in his possession were triggering the alarm, so he deactivated the CDs for the man. The man then said he wanted to do more shopping in the store, and the store owner saw the man remove a black Molskine journal from his vest pocket and attempt to place it back on the shelf. The owner detained the man and called police, who transported the shoplifter to Mission Station. During booking, a computer check revealed the man had several outstanding arrest warrants.

At about 6 p.m., a few doors down, two men walked into a grocery store and went to the liquor aisle. One man took four bottles of Moet & Chandon champagne from the shelf while the other took a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne and handed it to the first man. The first man took all five bottles to the frozen-food aisle and hid them behind some frozen pizzas. He and his friend then left the store. Five minutes later, they returned with a green backpack, filled it with their five bottles of champagne, and left the store without paying. Two security guards then took the men into custody and called police. During booking at Mission Station, a computer check revealed that one of the men had a prior theft conviction and the other an outstanding warrant.

A similar incident occurred in the same grocery store a few hours later, at about 9:30 p.m. A female teenager took a bottle of Smirnoff vodka off the shelf and placed it inside her coat. She then left the store without paying. Two security officers detained her and called police, who took the teenager to Mission Station and cited her. The teenager's mother was contacted and later came to the station. The case has been assigned to SFPD's Juvenile Division.

Aggravated Assault: 9:46 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 18: 24th and Diamond streets

Two homeless men, one of whom speaks only Spanish, were walking along 24th Street near Diamond at about 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 18, when three teenagers--two males and a female--approached and demanded, "Give us a dollar." After the homeless man who spoke English refused, the teenagers began pushing him, and one of the teens took out a folding knife with a three- to four-inch blade and stabbed him in the left bicep. The teens then ran eastbound on 24th Street.

The man told his friend in Spanish, "They f - - - - - me up," and the friend saw that the man's arm was bleeding profusely. When police arrived on the scene, the man was lying on 24th Street in a pool of blood. He was admitted and treated at San Francisco General Hospital. Police searched the area but failed to locate the suspects.

The victim told police he believed the teens were members of the "Sureno" gang. Officers notified the SFPD's Gang Task Force of the incident.

The male teenagers were described as Hispanic, ages 17 to 18, 5859, 150 pounds, with brown eyes and black "buzz-cut" hair. Both were wearing red shirts, blue jeans, and black shoes. The female teenager was described as Hispanic, 17 to 18, 5859, 130 pounds with brown eyes and black braided shoulder-length hair. She was wearing a blue shirt, white jeans, and black shoes.

Store Burglary: Between 10:20 and 11:15 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 20; 3900 block of 24th Street

At 10:20 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 20, an employee of a gift store in the 3900 block of 24th Street left the shop for home. When he returned an hour later, he discovered that the top lock of the shop's rear door had been popped out and the door damaged. However, the door was still secure and nothing had been taken from inside the store.

Police believe the would-be intruder had chiseled the door in an attempt to break into the shop. However, due to lack of physical evidence, Crime Scene Investigations was not called. h

How to Contact the SFPD

Noe Valley residents and merchants are invited to attend police-community meetings held monthly in the Mission and Ingleside police districts. The next meeting at Mission Station will be Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m., at 630 Valencia Street near 17th Street. The next Ingleside meeting will be Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m., at Ingleside Station, 1 Sergeant John Young Lane, near the 2000 block of San Jose Avenue.

Meanwhile, those who live or work north of Cesar Chavez Street can report recurring problems by phoning Mission Station at 558-5400 or e-mailing Capt. Greg Corrales at gregory_corrales@ (To report anonymously on drugs, gangs, or other crimes, call the non-traceable hotline at 558-5452.)

Residents and merchants in "outer" Noe Valley--south of Cesar Chavez--can reach Ingleside Station by calling 404-4000 or e-mailing Capt. Kevin Dillon at

To report a crime in progress, call 911. (Cell phone users, dial 553-8090.)