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Police Blotter – May 9, 2014 | Bike theft video leads to narcotics, fraud arrest

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of May 9, 2014. To be added to the station's mailing list, email sfpd.richmond.station@sfgov.org.]

As a station captain, I frequently get invited to community meetings and I find them very helpful since they give me an opportunity to meet people and learn about their concerns first hand. I’m always grateful when neighbors participate in an organized neighborhood watch group because these groups can be very effective at crime prevention.

When neighbors get to know each other they are more likely to look out for each other. People keeping an eye on things in the neighborhood are often the first to notice something suspicious. Because no one knows the area better than the people who live there, they can often be our eyes and ears and report problems to the police.

San Francisco SAFE (Safety Awareness For Everyone) is the non-profit organization that partners with the SFPD on a wide variety of crime prevention programs. They can assist neighbors in starting a neighborhood watch. For details, visit their website at http://sfsafe.org/services/neighborhood-watch/ or give them a call at 415-553-1984.

Our next Community meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 6pm. It will be in the Community Room, here at Richmond Station, 461 6th Ave.

On 05/02/14 at 10:47am, plainclothes officers were patrolling Fulton St and observed the suspect looking into the window of a parked vehicle at 47th and Fulton. The officers went to approach the suspect who then fled on foot into Golden Gate Park. Officers were able to detain him and determined that he was probation. Officers conducted a search of the male and found a hand saw, wire cutters, screw drivers and methamphetamine. The 48yr old male was charged with possession of narcotics and burglary tools.

On 04/29/14, officers had stopped a male at Divisadero and Bush St (see last week’s newsletter) who was in possession of a laptop that was later determined to be stolen. On 05/02/14, officers located the suspect on the 1700 block of Mission St and detained him. The 55 year old male was charged with burglary, possession of stolen property and a parole violation.

On 05/03/14 at 11:37pm, a hit and run accident occurred at the intersection of Masonic and Euclid. Witness provided a description and direction of the vehicle that fled. Officers who were on an unrelated call at 2nd and Anza, observed the suspect’s vehicle traveling west on Anza with front end damage, a flat tire and driving without headlights. The vehicle was stopped and the driver detained. It was determined that the suspect was driving under the influence and initial tests showed he was over twice the legal limit. The 36yr old male was charged with driving under the influence and hit and run. The other party in the accident was uninjured.

On 05/06/14, at 8:30am, a victim came into Richmond Station to report that his bike had been stolen from his apartment lobby on the 200 block of 8th Ave earlier in the morning. The victim provided a copy of surveillance video of the apartment building’s garage and lobby which showed the suspects taking his bike. The suspects were able to open the garage by unknown means and drove a Toyota mini-van inside. The suspects then went into the lobby and cut the lock on the victim’s bike. They placed the bike in the mini-van and drove out of the garage. Officers reviewed the video and were able to identify both the male and female suspect and the car they drove into the garage. On 05/07/14 officers went to the 3100 block of Geneva in Daly City where the female suspect lived. They located the suspect as she rode up to her residence on the stolen bike. A search of the premise was conducted and two others were also taken into custody on unrelated charges. There was also evidence of fraudulent credit cards and identification. The initial suspect on the theft of the bicycle, a 39yr old was charged with the burglary, possession of stolen property, burglary tools and narcotic violations. The other suspects, a 39yr old female and a 40yr old male were charged with narcotic violations and numerous fraud violations.

On 05/03/14 at 9:15pm, the victim was walking on Clement towards 5th Ave. Two suspects approached her from behind with one grabbing her purse. The victim struggled back and forth over the purse with the suspect finally able to get control over it. The victim fell to the ground but was not injured. The suspects fled in an unknown direction. The two suspects were black males, 20-25yrs old wearing dark clothing. The victim reported this incident on 05/06/14.

On 05/07/14 at 4:15pm, the victim was walking on Lake St approaching 20th Ave. Two suspects approached him from behind with one of the suspect’s putting him in a headlock. The second suspect came to the victim’s left side and flipped open a folding knife, pointing it towards the victim. The suspects asked for the victim’s money and cell phone, but the victim had neither item. The suspects fled west on Lake St. The suspect that put the victim in a headlock was described as an Asian male, 14-15yrs wearing a black sweater. The second suspect was a white male, 14-15yrs wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and a maroon bandana covering his face.

On 05/07/14, between 11am and 7pm on the 800 block of 26th Ave, a suspect entered a home via the tradesman’s door. The suspect then accessed the kitchen door into the home and took jewelry.

Between 05/07/14, 5pm and 05/08/14, 6:30am on the 2500 block of Jackson St, a suspect forced open the garage door to a home under construction. The suspect then forced open four locked metal tool boxes and stole numerous tools.

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 2:41 pm | Posted under Crime | 2 comments

Local Links: Mayfaire Carnival, grad research, fundraisers, Green Apple & more

The labyrinth at Lands End. Photo by Stan-the-Rocker

Happy Thursday everyone! Here are some local links to distract you from the fog…

  • Argonne School’s Mayfaire Carnival fundraiser is this Saturday, featuring bouncing castles, a climbing wall, a dunk tank, crafts, games, a used book sale, raffle tickets for prizes, a silent auction and food. It runs from 11am until 4pm on the Argonne campus at 18th & Cabrillo. Admission is free.
  • A Stanford grad student is conducting a research project that investigates social interactions, specifically among neighbors, in the neighborhoods of Richmond District and North Beach. If you’d like to help her out, take the short online survey here (Richmond Dist or North Beach residents only!).
  • Back in April, a 3-year old boy named Nikita was hit by a truck while riding his bike across Fulton Street near 43rd Avenue, leaving him with critical brain and body injuries. Family friends are asking for financial help from the community to cover medical costs via an online fundraiser, which you can donate to here.
  • In other fundraising news, the George Washington High School baseball and softball teams need to raise $40,000 for a new batting cage facility, which the coach describes as “a first-in-class, enclosed, steel-structured cage” that will be permanent. Learn more and donate online here. P.S. – If you want the chance to win a signed bat from Giants player Hunter Pence, go to the end of the video for details.
  • Green Apple announced the winner in their t-shirt design contest. Congrats go to neighborhood resident Carrie Niziolek who is a scientist by day and part-time artist. She won $250 plus a $200 Green Apple gift card, and soon her design will grace hundreds of t-shirts and bags. Check out her winning design and runner-ups here.
  • There will be an open house meeting about the Ocean Beach Master Plan this Saturday in Golden Gate Park. The plan recommends ways to improve coastal access, restore ecological function and protect critical infrastructure in the face of chronic erosion and sea level rise at Ocean Beach. To find out more about the three projects that are underway, attend the meeting at the County Fair Building from 9am until 12noon.
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 9:27 am | Posted under Business, Ocean Beach, Schools | Add comments

Police roust campers from Alexandria Theater lot. Will the city step up?

A police officer talks to one of the campers in the Alexandria parking lot on Tuesday. Photo by David H.

On Tuesday, police were called to the Alexandria Theater parking lot on 18th Avenue after campers were spotted.

Police talked to the campers who were advised to move on and not return.

Neighbor David H. called in the incident to police. He makes a habit of walking by the theater every day to check for homeless, graffiti and other new damage to the building.

The Alexandria Theater building has been under closer scrutiny recently after a break-in through a smashed glass door on the front of the building.

The building continues to be a source of neighborhood blight with graffiti, a decaying exterior, broken glass and trash. Residents are encouraged to call 311 to report trash and graffiti, and the non-emergency SFPD line at 553-0123 if they see campers.

Last week, Nick Pagoulatos, an aide from Supervisor Eric Mar’s office, left a comment on the Alexandria break-in story, saying “the ongoing neglect of the Alexandria Theater is one of the biggest concerns for Supervisor Mar”. Pagoulatos also detailed the shortcomings of the buildings’ owners, saying “they have not followed through on these commitments” including one to “maintain the property in a clean and secure condition”.

Pagoulatos went on to say that “our office has spent many, many hours over the past few years engaging with the owners of the property, potential tenants, potential alternative developers, the Mayor’s office and City enforcement agencies.”

Follow-up commenters were not too impressed with the update from Mar’s office, urging the Supervisor to take swift and strong action against the owners for their ongoing neglect.

“”Urging” them to maintain the property is clearly not sufficient. There must be enforcement action,” wrote reader Jean B.

The Planning Association for the Richmond (PAR) has begun pursuing legal actions against the theater’s owners. PAR has requested that the Zoning Administrator for the City, Scott Sanchez, call a hearing on whether the the owners of the Alexandria have violated the conditions of their entitlement. If the owners are in violation, the value of their property could decrease significantly.

Pagoulatos is urging residents with complaints about the Alexandria’s condition to send their comments to Scott Sanchez of the Planning Department at scott.sanchez@sfgov.org. Sanchez is gathering public comments and will make a decision about whether to pass the matter onto the enforcement division of the Planning Department.

Ironically, Supervisor Eric Mar can’t weigh in on the Planning Department’s actions. “The Supervisor cannot take a position on this matter, as it could subsequently be appealed to the Board of Supervisors,” Pagoulatos wrote.

Really, we couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried.

Let’s hope the momentum to reform the Alexandria Theater owners continues and we see some real improvements. It’s been ten years of graffiti, neglect and apathy – enough already.

Sarah B.

A police cruiser outside the Alexandria on Tuesday. Photo by David H.

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 5:11 am | Posted under Crime, Real Estate | 40 comments

Photo: Andres Amador’s latest sand art at Ocean Beach

Photo by Bruce H.

Amador was out early on Friday morning at Kelly’s Cove at Ocean Beach to “paint” his latest sand art. We love this!

Sarah B.

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 12:56 pm | Posted under Art, Ocean Beach | 2 comments

Local Links: Romo pitches school, Aziza 2.0, plant sale, Saturday events & more

Sergio Romo speaks to students at Lafayette Elementary. Photo by Juan Pardo / SF Examiner

Here are some local updates to start your weekend. Have a good one!

  • Reminder: This Saturday the SF Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park will host its 47th annual plant sale from 10am until 2pm, featuring over 20,000 plants. This year’s theme is drought tolerance hundreds of beautiful natives, succulents, and plants perfect for SF’s many micro-climates are for sale. The event also serves as a fundraiser for the garden.
  • If pampering is more up your alley, head to outer Balboa on Saturday for an open house at Elevation Pilates and Sweet Cheeks Skincare. Sweet Cheeks will be offering free Hand Treatments demoing all of the latest and greatest skincare technology, selling some skin care items at 50% off, and selling a Mother’s Day Gift Certificate that include a free gift with purchase. Elevation Pilates will be offering free classes, special pricing on class packages, and hosting an art show. The open house runs from 11am until 3pm at 3425 Balboa Street.
  • The community garden at the Richmond District Neighborhood Center is going strong. Some students from Katherine Delmar Burke School paid a visit recently to plant some kale for the community.

Burke’s students plant kale in the community garden at the RDNC. Photo by Kinder Musings.

  • Giants pitcher Sergio Romo was at Lafayette School (4545 Anza) on Tuesday to talk to students about the importance of education. It was Romo’s fourth visit for such an event, put on by Washington High School’s Athletes in Math Succeed program, in which high school students and professional athletes cheer on students to succeed in school. “It’s more personal to me,” Romo said of visiting the school, where he high-fived kids and signed their baseball paraphernalia. “I can relate to this program.” (SF Examiner)
  • The Chronicle reported this week that Aziza owner and cookbook author Mourad Lahlou is moving ahead with a second, downtown restaurant in the former Pacific Telephone Building (140 New Montgomery). He’s looking to open the Moroccan-themed, 6,000 sq. ft. restaurant in late 2014/early 2015. No word yet on Aziza’s future.
  • A writer at SF Weekly lamented over the forgotten era of the Tiki Bar when he journeyed out to Trad’r Sam’s on Geary, one of the first in the city. After hearing Warren G. coming from the jukebox and listening to patrons order chilled vodka shots instead of Tiki-themed rum drinks, he concluded that Trad’r Sam’s is “now just another bar”.
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 12:15 pm | Posted under Business, Community, Golden Gate Park, Green, Schools | 7 comments

Photos: SUV goes wheels up at 2nd and Anza

Photo by Tom R.

A SUV driver careened into two parked cars and then flipped over at the intersection of Anza and 2nd avenue around 4 o’clock this afternoon. One witness said the SUV just missed hitting a third car.

SFFD was on the scene quickly to right the car. The driver was conscious but taken by ambulance for medical attention.

Rumor is that the driver was distracted, possibly due to texting while driving but this was not confirmed by police.

Stay safe out there, folks!

Sarah B.

Photo by @DavidGallagher

One of the clipped cars. Photo by Tom R.

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 5:23 pm | Posted under Photos, Traffic | 4 comments

Police Blotter – May 1, 2014

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of May 1, 2014. To be added to the station's mailing list, email sfpd.richmond.station@sfgov.org.]

As the SFPD increases its use of technology for communicating with the public, one thing remains constant: The best way to get the police when you need us is to call SFPD dispatch. For an emergency, call 911 and for other problems call 553-0123.

Recently, people sent e-mails or Twitter messages asking us to respond to crimes in progress. Since we don’t monitor our Twitter or e-mail accounts every minute of the day, we did not see these messages right away.

However, there are always call takers and dispatchers on duty at the City’s Department of Emergency Management. These hard working, highly trained professionals are the ones who answer whenever you call 911 or 553-0123. They run a state of the art operation designed to send first responders to emergencies quickly and efficiently. Because dispatching operations are centralized, it is much better to call dispatch for a crime in progress than it is to call the station.

I am pleased to report that the officers of Richmond Station have one of the quickest average response times to emergency calls in the City.

Our next Community meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 6pm. It will be in the Community Room, here at Richmond Station, 461 6th Ave.

On 04/26/14 at 6:30pm, officers stopped a bicyclist for a moving violation at Washington and Presidio. It was determined that the bicyclist had an outstanding warrant for his arrest from Alameda County. The officers then searched the suspect and located methamphetamine in his pocket. When the officer showed the suspect what he had removed from his pocket, the suspect said, “What’s that? These are not my pants.” The 52 year old male was charged with the narcotic violation and the warrant.

On 04/27/14 at 11:30pm, officers were called to an injury accident at 35th and Balboa Sts. Officers determined that the driver of a vehicle, traveling west on Balboa, struck two pedestrians that were crossing Balboa, northbound in the crosswalk. Officers determined that the driver, a 47yr old male, was driving while intoxicated and booked accordingly. The two pedestrians were taken to a local hospital for minor injuries.

On 04/18/14 at 3:54pm on the 200 block of 30th Ave, a male was captured on surveillance video stealing packages from the front of the home. The suspect was identified and on 04/29/14 plainclothes officers located the male on the 5900 block of California and detained him. The 31yr old male was charged with the theft.

On 04/29/14 at 4:45am, officers responded to a call of a male possibly casing vehicles on 12th between California and Clement, carrying a flashlight. The caller provided a description but was unable to stay in the area. Officers located the male at 12th and Clement who matched the description. He told the officers that he had been looking into garbage cans. Officers determined that he had two outstanding warrants for his arrest and was booked.

On 04/30/14 at 10:40pm, officers responded to the 400 block of 28th Ave on a report of a possible auto burglary in progress. The caller was reporting that she was watching a white female with a crow bar at the rear of a vehicle. The caller saw her approach the rear of a second vehicle and could hear banging noises. At one point a male crossed the street and spoke with the female and a short argument ensued. The male then walked off south on 28th Ave and a short time later the female walked off in the same direction and the caller lost sight of her near an apartment building on the 500 block of 28th Ave. Officers located both the male and female in a stairway inside the apartment building and detained them. The caller showed the officers the vehicles that they had seen the female suspect at and both vehicles had their front license plates bent as if the suspect was trying to pry them off. As the officers walked the 400 block of 28th Ave they found an additional 7 vehicles with the plates bent. The officers were then shown an area in the garage where the suspects were located 4 license plates that had been successfully removed from different vehicles. The female, a 15yr old was charged with auto tampering. The officers attempted to contact the owners of the 4 license plates but were unsuccessful. It appears that the recovered plates were taken from vehicles parked on the 400 block of 28th Ave. If you believe that one of them may belong to you please email sfpdrichmondstation@sfgov.org. Include your license plate number and contact information.

Between 04/24/14, 7am and 04/25/14, 12pm on the 500 block of Balboa, a suspect took a bike from a multi-unit garage. There were no signs of forced entry.

Between 04/24/14, 12pm and 04/28/14, 3pm on the 3400 block of Clay St, a suspect(s) entered a multi-unit garage and took 4 bikes. There were no signs of forced entry.

On 04/26/14 between 12pm and 8pm on the 300 block of 21st Ave, a suspect entered a home by damaging the lock on the front door. The suspect took nothing from the home but took tools and a bike from the garage.

Between 04/26/14, 4:40pm and 04/27/14, 12:20pm on the 600 block of 9th Ave, a suspect removed the screen from a window and entered through an unlocked window. The suspect took robe and a stuffed animal. One of the tenant’s computers was located on the ground outside.

On 04/28/14 at 4:20pm two males got into an argument over a bottle of vodka at Fulton and the Great Highway. One of the males hit the other in the face with a baseball bat and fled the scene. The victim was transported to the hospital. The suspect was described as a white male, 25-30yrs, with brown hair and wearing a brown sweater.

On 04/29/14, between 8:45am and 4:45pm on the 2000 block of Scott St a suspect pried open the door to an apartment. The suspect took two laptops and camera equipment. It is unknown how the suspect entered the building itself.

On 04/29/14 at 4pm, officers detained a male at Divisadero and Bush St as he had crossed the street on the red light. The male was carrying a laptop in his hand. The officers determined that the male was on parole for burglary and conducted a search. When asked about the ownership of the laptop, the suspect said that he found it in a dumpster on Bush St. Officers attempted to obtain information about the owner of the laptop, but the computer was frozen. The male was given a citation for his violation and released at the scene. Once the officers were able to bring the laptop to the station, they were able to access it and found information about the owner and contacted her. She told them she had left the laptop on her bed before she left for work at 8am. She and the officers went back to her apartment on the 2000 block of Divisadero. Once inside they saw that the screen had been removed from her bedroom window which had been left ajar. The suspect climbed in and took the laptop. Nothing else seemed to be disturbed. Officers went to the address given to them by the suspect but they were not able to locate him. The search for the suspect continues.

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 1:17 pm | Posted under Crime | Add comments

Vandal breaks into Alexandria Theater; blight continues to mount

The smashed front door of the Alexandria Theater on Tuesday morning. Photo by David H.

Cub reporter David H. noticed one of the front doors was bashed in on the Alexandria Theater on Tuesday morning. Police were called to the building but did not find anyone inside. Building management later boarded over the damaged door and reinforced all the front doors against further break-ins.

This is the latest vandalism done to the former movie theater, which has become a magnet for graffiti and dumping. To date, the city has been very lax in enforcing the building owners to keep the building and grounds in good shape.

Ten weeks ago, on February 18, 2014, we filed a 311 request for “le poop” graffiti that was seen atop the theater (request #3380340). That case was only opened (assigned) nine days ago. Since it was first filed, the graffiti on the roof has increased to include additional designs on the Geary side and on the theater’s tower.

Down on ground level, the situation is equally unappealing. Trash is often dumped at the base of the large wall on the 18th Avenue side of the building, and it’s a magnet for graffiti taggers.

And even when the property managers do make an effort to paint over graffiti, they use off color paint or an entirely different color altogether like orange.

Damage to the 91 year old building is not only limited to the exterior. In late February, we posted some pictures of vandalism to the interior art deco murals, which are considered historic.

While police searched the building on Tuesday and contractors worked on the repair, cub reporter David H. was on scene and reported that the interior has been cleaned of the debris left by winter break-ins and is reasonably clean. But he also remarked, “You do not want to catch any of the smell coming out of that place.”

We recently marked the 10th anniversary of the closing of the Alexandria Theater. Over that decade, the building has deteriorated significantly and the owners have been unsuccessful in developing or selling the property.

Let’s hope the city can pressure the owners to make some improvements to building security and the grounds.

Sarah B.

The top photo shows the building’s graffiti near the roof from a 311 report on Feburary 18, 2014.
The bottom photo was taken on April 29, 2014, showing additional graffiti.

The front entry to the theater showing peeling paint, trash and broken glass.

The 18th Avenue side of the building.

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 5:02 am | Posted under Crime, Real Estate | 38 comments