Noe Valley Voice May 2003

Police Beat

Police Beat is a monthly roundup of crimes and other police incidents in Noe Valley, defined as the area bordered by Grand View, 21st, Fair Oaks, and 30th streets. The following crime summaries were culled from incident reports filed at Mission and Ingleside police stations between March 1 and April 1, 2003.

Robbery with Force: 1:20 p.m. on Tuesday, March 4; Muni streetcar platform at 24th and Church streets

On Tuesday afternoon, March 4, an 18-year-old Noe Valley resident was standing on the Muni platform at the corner of 24th and Church streets waiting for the streetcar when he was approached by a 16-year-old male who asked, "You bang?" (street jargon for "Are you in a gang?"). The resident said no, and the teen began to speak in Spanish to him about belonging to a gang. He then asked, "You got any money?" When the resident told him no, the teen ripped a silver chain, valued at $80, from the resident's neck.

During the incident, a 14-year-old accomplice of the robber stood by and said, "Give him the money," several times. Another accomplice, aged 18, stood about 10 feet away and made a "human shield" between the robbers and other people standing on the platform. After taking the chain, the three youths fled north on Church Street.

When police arrived, they took the resident with them in their squad car to search for the three youths. In the meantime, another squad car detained the youths at the corner of Church and 17th streets. The 16-year-old was wearing the resident's chain. He and the 14-year-old accomplice were taken to Youth Guidance Center for booking, while the 18-year-old accomplice was booked at Ingleside Station. The case has been assigned to the San Francisco Police Department's Robbery Detail.

Hot Prowl Burglary of Flat: Between 6 and 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 6; 200 block of 29th Street

At 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 6, a resident went inside his upstairs flat in the 200 block of 29th Street near Dolores. A half hour later, he walked outside and saw that the door to his garage was slightly ajar. He looked inside the garage and discovered that his bicycle was missing. When police arrived, they noticed that the lock on the garage door had been pried open. The case has been assigned to the SFPD's Burglary Detail.

Robbery with Knife: 10:10 p.m. on Thursday, March 6; Noe and Cesar Chavez streets

At 10:10 p.m. on Thursday, March 6, a Noe Valley resident was walking south on the east side of Noe Street near Cesar Chavez when three men approached him. One said, "Hey, blood, what's going on?" He then told the resident not to run away and grabbed him, while another man showed him a knife and told the resident to give him his money. The resident pulled out his wallet, which the men took. They told the resident to run away. As he was leaving the scene, the resident saw the three men run east toward Mission Street. Police searched the area for the three men, but did not find them.

Burglary in Progress of Flat Under Construction: Between 11:19 and 11:23 p.m. on Thursday, March 6; 1400 block of Sanchez Street

A little after 11 p.m. on Thursday, March 6, the neighbor of a flat under construction in the 1400 block of Sanchez Street near Cesar Chavez spotted a man go into the port-a-potty in front of the flat. The neighbor said the man stayed in the potty for 10 minutes and then crossed the tape that was in front of the construction site and went down the stairs to the basement. The neighbor saw the man prying a board off the basement door to get inside. When police arrived, they found the man coming up the stairs from the basement. They took him to Ingleside Station, where he was booked for burglary. A records search showed that the man had a previous arrest history. The case has been assigned to the SFPD's Burglary Detail.

Residential Burglary: Between 4 and 11:55 p.m. on Saturday, March 8; 4300 block of 23rd Street

A resident of the 4300 block of 23rd Street near Douglass returned home at close to midnight on Saturday, March 8, after being away since late afternoon. When he walked up to his front door, he found it open. He then discovered that two laptop computers and a cell phone were missing from his home. A jewelry box had been opened, but nothing was taken. The resident told police that he could not remember if he had locked the front door properly. He said that if the deadbolt was not applied, the door sometimes opened by itself. Crime Scene Investigations was called for follow-up. The case has been assigned to the SFPD's Burglary Detail.

Store Robbery: 7:08 p.m. on Sunday, March 9; 3900 block of 24th Street

Shortly after 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 9, a customer walked up to the register of a record store in the 3900 block of 24th Street and paid $1.09 for a record. As the customer passed through the security sensor to leave the store, the sensor went off. The employee asked the customer if he had anything that he didn't pay for and the customer dropped the record he had purchased and walked out of the store. The employee then followed the man out of the store and grabbed his jacket, which appeared to be concealing something. The man attempted to get on his bicycle, and a passerby tried to helped the store employee detain him. The man then reached into his waistband and pulled out a knife. The employee let go of the suspect, who got on his bicycle and fled east on 24th Street. Police searched the area for the suspect, but did not find him.

Theft from Building: Between 3:30 and 10 p.m. on Wednesday, March 12; 1300 block of Noe Street

A resident of an apartment building in the 1300 block of Noe Street near 26th left his mountain bike in the building's garage at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 12. At 10 p.m., he discovered that the bike was missing. He told police that he usually secured the bike with a chain lock mounted to the wall, but had forgotten to do so. The bicycle is a white Yeti Arc­model with disc brakes and a blue bicycle-computer on top. The case has been assigned to the SFPD's Burglary Detail.

Multiple Store Burglaries: Between 6:30 and 9:10 p.m. on Wednesday, March 12; 4000 block of 24th Street and 3800 block of 24th Street

Four 24th Street businesses were burglarized the night of Wednesday, March 12. The same suspect is believed to be responsible for all four burglaries. The suspect broke in using a black metal prybar, which he left behind at one of the stores.

A manager of a children's clothing store in the 4000 block of 24th Street was the first to report the burglary. She told police that at 9:10 p.m. on March 12 she was in her apartment above the store when she heard the store alarm go off. She thought the alarm had been activated accidentally and went downstairs to reset it. As she entered the store and began to reset the alarm, she noticed that the light in the store office was on. She then spotted a man poking his head out of the office and looking at her. The man let out a gasp and ran to the store's back door. The manager called 911 and also alerted the owner of the store.

When the owner arrived on the scene, she found the store's office had been ransacked and $580 in cash was missing. The owner also found a black metal prybar in the office. Police discovered that a bathroom window screen had been torn and the window was wide open. There also were pry marks on the bathroom door that appeared to match the tip of the prybar found in the office. Police searched the area for the suspect, but did not find him.

After the owner of the clothing store alerted other merchants in the area to check their stores for possible burglaries, the proprietor of a flower store on the same block discovered that his office also had been ransacked. The screen of his rear window had been broken off its brackets, and the shop's rear door was unlocked and had pry marks on its frame. He also noticed that $30 was missing from a plastic donation box. After investigating the scene, police said the pry marks on the flower store's door appeared to match the prybar found in the clothing store.

Nearby, at a gift store, an employee discovered a broken lock and pry marks on the shop's back door, but no one had entered the store and nothing was taken.

The same suspect also appears to have broken into an income tax preparer/real estate agent's office in the 3800 block of 24th Street. When the owner of the business entered his office, he noticed that a revolver he keeps in his desk drawer was on top of the desk. Several desks also had their drawers pulled open and their contents emptied onto the floor. Three sets of American Eagle gold bullion coins were missing, along with two gold Mexican coins, three gold bracelets, and 50 two-dollar bills. Police discovered pry marks on the front door and frame.

Crime Scene Investigations was called to the scene to check for fingerprints and collect other evidence. The cases have been assigned to the SFPD's Burglary Detail. At press time, no suspect had been identified.

Vandalism to Vehicle: Between 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 12, and 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 13; 1l00 block of Jersey Street

At 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 12, a woman parked and secured her 1991 Honda Civic sedan in the 100 block of Jersey Street near Church. When she returned at 6 p.m. the next day, she discovered that the right front passenger window had been smashed and the steering column broken.

Burglary of Flat: Between 8:30 a.m. and 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, March 13; 3900 block of 26th Street

The resident of a flat in the 3900 block of 26th Street near Church locked the front door of her home and left at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 13. When she returned at 6:45 p.m., the front door was open. She discovered that her television set was missing from her living room and two necklaces and a ring were missing from a jewelry box in her bedroom. Because the resident had touched the areas of her home that had been disturbed by the burglar, police did not call Crime Scene Investigations for follow-up. The case has been assigned to the SFPD's Burglary Detail.

Residential Burglary: Between 7 p.m. on Friday, March 14, and 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 16; 700 block of 27th Street

The residents of a home in the 700 block of 27th Street near Diamond left their home locked and secured at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 14. When they returned two days later, they discovered that their kitchen window had been broken and that several items, including a Dell computer screen, CD turntable, three pairs of earrings, and a necklace, were missing from the home. The residents also found their rear porch sliding glass door open. Police found possible fingerprint evidence on the jewelry box and a kitchen window pane, and called Crime Scene Investigations for follow-up. The case has been assigned to the SFPD's Burglary Detail.

Burglary of Apartment House: 11:55 p.m. on Friday, March 14; 100 block of 28th Street

At close to midnight on Friday, March 14, a resident of the 100 block of Duncan Street near Guerrero saw a man using a tool to try to open the gate of an apartment building on the street. The resident told police that the man was trying to hide what he was doing when a person walked by him. The suspect then left and headed toward 28th Street on a 10-speed bicycle. The resident spotted a police car and notified the officers, who drove up 28th Street and noticed a 10-speed bicycle on the sidewalk in front of an apartment building in the 100 block of 28th Street near Dolores. A man matching the description provided by the resident came out of the building and got on the bike.

Police detained the man and looked inside the doorway of the apartment building and spotted a red Cannondale road bike. The man told officers that he was watching the Cannondale bike for a friend, but a resident of the building told police that the bike belonged to his roommate and had been hanging in the garage with three other bikes.

The man was placed under arrest and taken to Ingleside Station. A computer check revealed that he was on parole and had past convictions for burglary and narcotics. During a booking search, police found burglary tools and drug paraphernalia, including a syringe and a crack pipe. Police also found a Dell Pocket PC, which they determined belonged to a resident of the 200 block of 29th Street. When contacted by police, the resident told officers that someone had broken into her car on Wednesday, March 12, and taken the Pocket PC. The case has been assigned to the SFPD's Burglary Detail.

Church Burglary: Between 9:30 p.m. on Monday, March 17, and 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 18; 1000 block of Sanchez Street

A church building in the 1000 block of Sanchez Street near 23rd was locked and secured at 9:30 p.m. on Monday, March 17. When an employee opened the building at 9 a.m. the next day, he discovered that the door to the pastor's office had been pried open and that a red metal coin can containing $5 was missing from the office. The employee told police that the bathroom window might have been left unlocked. Due to lack of physical evidence, Crime Scene Investigations was not called.

Robbery in a Public Place: 8:40 a.m. on Thursday, March 20; Muni bus at 30th and Sanchez streets

At 8:40 a.m. on Thursday, March 20, four teenage boys boarded a Muni bus at 30th and Mission streets. A male youth, who was already on the bus, came up to one of the boys and said, "Give me your money." The boy said no, and the youth reached into his front pants pocket and took two dollar bills. Several other boys on the bus, who appeared to be friends of the youth, were laughing and encouraging the youth to take the money from the boy. The boy then tried to get his money back, but the youth pushed him and took a Muni Fast Pass out of the boy's front pocket. He then went over to another boy and took a cell phone from his pocket, along with his wallet. He took three dollar bills from the wallet and threw the wallet on the floor of the bus. He then took another boy's wallet, which did not contain any cash, and threw the wallet on the ground. He made his way over to the fourth boy and took a five-dollar bill out of his front pants pocket. He then exited the bus at 30th and Sanchez streets.

Mission Police Station and Muni Security were notified of the incident, and reports were filed with both agencies.

Petty Theft: 6:57 p.m. on Sunday, March 23; 200 block of Duncan Street

At approximately 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 23, two residents of the 200 block of Duncan Street near Dolores caught a man inside their Honda Accord, parked in front of their garage. The man was putting items from the car into his jacket pockets. The residents shouted at the man, and he tried to flee. The residents ran after him and caught him at the corner of Duncan and Dolores and shoved him to the ground. They removed two CDs, a CD player, a phone charger, and a cell phone from the suspect's pockets. The residents then called the police and detained the man until police arrived.

At the scene, police noticed that the glove compartment was open and that several items were strewn about the car. They also noticed that the suspect smelled strongly of alcohol. He told police he had been drinking all day. A computer check revealed that the suspect was on parole and had been convicted of five prior thefts. He was taken to Ingleside Station and booked for theft with prior conviction, possession of stolen property, public drunkenness, and a parole violation. The case has been assigned to the SFPD's Burglary Detail.

Aggravated Assault: 11:35 p.m. on Sunday, March 23; 28th and Church streets

A Noe Valley resident was walking north on Church Street near 29th at 11:35 p.m. on Sunday, March 23, when a white Chrysler Concord sedan with four male teenagers drove past him. As the resident approached 28th Street, he was tackled by one of the teenagers, thrown to the ground, and kicked. The three other teens then ran up and also began to kick him. During the attack, the four teens did not say anything to the resident or to each other, nor did they attempt to take any of the resident's property. When they stopped kicking the resident, they ran back to their car, jumped inside, and fled north on Church Street. When police arrived, the resident was bleeding from his mouth and had a cut above his right eye. He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital for treatment.

Vandalism to Property: Between 7 p.m. on Monday, March 24, and 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, March 25; 3700 block of 24th Street

The manager of a clothing store in the 3700 block of 24th Street closed the shop at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 24. When she returned at 10:45 a.m. the next day, she found that someone had tried to pry off the lock latch on the front door. The front door lock and latch were damaged, but no one gained entry to the store.

Store Robbery: 3:55 p.m. on Tuesday, April 1; 3900 block of 24th Street

At approximately 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 1, an employee of a coffee store in the 3900 block of 24th Street near Noe was working at the front counter when a man came inside and placed an order. When the employee asked for the man's name (to call when his order was ready), the man replied, "Nine millimeter." The man then moved his hand toward the waistband of his pants, where the employee saw he had a gun. The man told him to open the register, and the employee grabbed all the money inside ($203) and handed it to the man, who placed the cash inside a newspaper he was carrying. The man then left the store.

The employee told police that the man was "very low-key, never raising his voice nor removing his gun from his waistband." Several customers were in the store at the time of the robbery, but were unaware a crime was occurring. Police searched the area, but did not find the suspect. Crime Scene Investigations was called to the store to dust the counter for fingerprints.

The suspect is described as a white male between the ages of 25 and 27, 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, with blue eyes, black hair, and a two-day growth of beard. He was last seen wearing a black baseball cap with orange script, an orange short-sleeved shirt, black slacks, and black soccer shoes with white stripes. The case has been assigned to the SFPD's Robbery Detail.

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

Your Links to 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, May 27, 6 p.m., at 630 Valencia Street near 17th Street. The next Ingleside meeting will be Tuesday, May 20, 7 p.m., at Ingleside Station, 1 Sgt. John Young Lane, off the 2000 block of San Jose Avenue.

Meanwhile, those who live or work in the northern half of the neighborhood (north of Cesar Chavez Street) can report recurring problems by phoning Mission Station at 558-5400. (To report anonymously on drugs, gangs, or other crimes, call the non-traceable hotline at 558-5452.) Those who live or work 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.) To notify police about a non-emergency situation, call 553-0123.

Corrales Puts Fajitas Behind Him

Captain Greg Corrales returned as commander of Mission Station on April 7. He was back on the job three days after a San Francisco judge dismissed conspiracy charges against him and four other senior members of the San Francisco Police Department, for their alleged role in last November's "Fajita-gate" incident involving three off-duty rookie officers. Corrales and the other senior officers had been on suspension without pay since being indicted by the civil grand jury on Feb. 28.

When the Voice bumped into the captain a day after his return, he appeared to be back to his regular routine. Corrales, who has headed up Mission Station since January 2002, was sitting behind his desk, plowing through a pile of paperwork, preparing for a mid-morning staff meeting, and planning how to deal with a war protest in Dolores Park later that week.

"I'm obviously glad to be back," Corrales said. "At this point, all my energies are being devoted to making the Mission District a better place to live and work."

Still, he admits the grand-jury experience has left him feeling "unhappy that I'm tainted over an incident where I just did my duty."

"But there's nothing I can do about it," he adds. "I'm just going to move on."

Knee Injury Sidelines Lombardo

Noe Valley has been without a beat cop since March 17 when Mission Officer Lorraine Lombardo, who patrols 24th Street and most of the neighborhood north of Cesar Chavez Street, went on a disability leave of absence.

Earlier in the month, while participating in a police training class, Lombardo suffered a crushed knee cartilage, "but I just sort of went into denial about it," she said. Then while working a downtown war protest on March 15, Lombardo exacerbated her knee injury and also suffered a bicep strain. Her doctor advised her to go on disability.

When the Voice spoke to Lombardo in mid-April, she was on the mend, thanks to physical therapy, cortisone injections, and some exercising in the gym.

"I'm hoping to be back at work in early May," Lombardo said. "I really miss Noe Valley. April 23 is my fiftieth birthday, and I wasn't planning on spending it at home being injured. Tell everyone hello for me. I can't wait to be back."

Until her return, Lombardo advises residents in need of police assistance to "not be afraid to call the department's non-emergency number [553-0123], if you think you see someone or something suspicious. Also, police cars are making drive-bys in the neighborhood, so flag them down and let them know what's going on and that you want them to check it out."

--Kathy Dalle-Molle