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Police Blotter – December 5, 2014

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of December 5, 2014. To be added to the station’s mailing list, email sfpdrichmondstation@sfgov.org.]


(Copy of an email from a Richmond Resident regarding magazine scam)

Hi there,

I just wanted to take the time to thank the officer who saved me from getting scammed last night. The doorbell rang around 8/8:30pm and a friendly, well-dressed young man was door-to-door selling magazine subscriptions. After politely describing that I have no interest in magazines, he persistently continued with a friendly speech about trying to get a second chance at life as a former gang member. He was trying to earn “points” from magazine sales which would help him earn a bit of money and “turn his life around”. His manner was persistent and polite. I asked to see materials from the company he was representing. They are called “PS Circulation” and the materials he had with him were laminated, professional looking brochure type things. He also had a hand-written list of other folks in the neighborhood that had donated money towards magazine sales earning him these much-coveted “points”.

I like to help people out and didn’t mind contributing, although I should have known better!! I even started to write a check, but thankfully didn’t give it to him, or divulge any personal information such as email, address, phone number, etc. Right in the nick of time, one of the officers in the neighborhood happen to see the exchange and right at that moment, he approached the house, turned his flashlight directly on the solicitor and started questioning him. He let him know that there were multiple complaints in the neighborhood, that under no circumstances was it okay to sell door-to-door at night, and asked for ID. The young man could not provide any and then started getting argumentative. I took this opportunity to go back inside.

Luckily for me, it never got that far, although I do admit I’m a bit flustered about almost falling for it! I sure felt like an idiot, but I also feel grateful because that officer sure saved me!! He swooped in just in the nick of time and taught me a valuable lesson in the process. The Inner Richmond is generally so safe that I forget to be on my guard. I really really really appreciate it!

A little internet research later has shown that this company “PS Circulation” is a major scam situation and some people have reported these nice “salesmen/women” getting aggressive immediately if they are turned down (kicking doors, swearing at people, etc). A lot of folks have reported concern that their house was being “cased” for potential future burglary. The most minor complaints ranged from “i never received the magazines” to complaints of not getting money back if they asked for it within the 10-day window (or whatever the fine print reads).

I didn’t get the officer’s name because I went back inside. But I really want to thank you, whoever you are!! Thanks for being an awesome police officer and saving a well-intentioned citizen from making a dumb mistake.


Editors Note: The Officer noted in this incident is SFPD Richmond Officer Ryan Mariano Star # 9


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Our next community meeting is December 16th, 2014 at 7:00 PM (Time change requested by attendees)
Location: Richmond Station Community Room (Location Subject to Change)

(Regarding some of the incidents in the weekly newsletter. We are not always able to give a full or complete account of what has occurred. We do not want to furnish information about ongoing investigations which may be prejudicial or interfere. We do our best to give a general overview of incidents within the district.)

On November 26, 2014 at 12:51 AM Officer Yee was working his regular patrol sector in the Richmond district when he had a request to respond to the Taraval district regarding a possible DUI. Officers in the Taraval district had located a male asleep at the wheel of a car at 19th and Taraval Street and believed the driver was possibly under the influence of alcohol. Officer Yee being a drug recognition expert responded to assist. The result of officer Yee’s investigation resulted in the male being booked at County jail on DUI charges.

November 27, 2014 at 4:43 PM Officer Wu was on foot patrol on Clement St. when he observed a vehicle make an illegal U-turn within a business district. The officer initiated a traffic stop and contacted the driver regarding the violation. The driver in this incident told the officer that their License had been suspended for a prior violation and this was confirmed via a computer check. The driver was cited for multiple violations.

On November 28, 2014 at 4:30 PM Officer Mulliken was on patrol in the area of Great Highway and Fulton Street when he observed a vehicle with expired registration. The officer initiated a traffic stop and contacted the driver. A computer query revealed that the driver’s license had been expired for almost 2 years. The driver was cited for multiple violations including driving with an expired license.

On November 28, 2014 at 2:26 AM Officer Rotschi was on patrol in the area of 4th and Clement when he observed a male known to him through multiple previous contacts. The officer was also aware they were active outstanding arrest warrants for the individual. The officer attempted to contact the male by identifying himself and requesting him to stop. The male attempted to flee the area on foot which resulted in a foot pursuit. The officer caught up with the male and after a brief struggle arrested him for the warrants and resisting arrest.

On November 28, 2014 at 10:15 PM Officer Faynshteyn was on patrol in the area of Spruce and Geary when he observed a vehicle fail to stop at a stop sign. The officer initiated a traffic stop and contacted the driver. A computer query revealed that the driver has had a suspension on file for almost 2 years. The driver was cited for multiple violations including driving on a suspended license.

On November 28, 2014 at 5:08 PM Officer Lok was on patrol in the area of 4th and Lake when he observed a vehicle driving in the area with illegal lights. The officer initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and contacted the driver. A computer query revealed that the driver had never been issued a license. The driver was cited for multiple violations.

November 28, 2014 at 5:18 PM Officers responded to the 3500 block of Geary regarding a bank robbery. The staff of the bank stated that the male approached the teller station and said “give me all your money.” While the teller did not see a firearm, he believed that the suspect had a gun concealed in his right jacket pocket. The suspect fled from the scene in an unknown direction with the stolen cash. There were no injuries during this incident and the investigation continues…

On November 29, 2014 at 1:23 AM Officer Rotschi and officer Faynshteyn were on patrol in the area of Clement and 2nd Avenue when they observed a vehicle fail to stop for a flashing red light. The officers initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and contacted the driver regarding the violation. While they were talking to the driver they noticed the smell an alcoholic beverage coming from the vehicle. The officers initiated a DUI investigation even though the driver told them he had not been drinking that evening. The driver in this incident was cited for underage DUI while driving a vehicle.

On November 29, 2014 at 7 AM Officer Wu was on patrol in the area of Park Presidio and Fulton when he observed a vehicle doing 54 mph in a 35 mph zone. The officer initiated a traffic stop and contacted the driver. A computer query revealed that not only was the vehicle registration expired, the driver’s license had expired eight years ago. The driver was cited for speeding, expired registration and driving with an expired license.

On November 30, 2014 at 11:34 PM Officer Rotschi was on patrol in the area of 28th and Geary when he observed a vehicle with no rear lights activated. The officer observed the vehicle make a left-hand turn and saw that the vehicle also had no front lights activated. The officer initiated a traffic stop with the intention of issuing a citation for driving with no lights during darkness. The officer contacted the driver he immediately detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage. The officer initiated a DUI investigation which resulted in the driver being booked at County jail for multiple violations including DUI.

On December 1st, 2014 at 5 PM Officers responded to the area of Great Highway and Balboa Street regarding a reported robbery. On arrival at the scene the officers spoke to the victim who stated that the incident had occurred in the parking lot of ocean beach. The victim stated he was placing items in the rear of his vehicle when he was approached from behind by an unknown suspect. The suspect told him “give me everything you’ve got. I’ve got a knife.” The victim handed over his wallet and cell phone to the suspect who fled on foot eastbound through the parking lot heading toward Sutro Heights Park. Officers conducted an immediate search of the area but were unable to locate the suspect. There were no injuries in this incident and the investigation continues…

On December 1st, 2014 at 5:07 PM Officer Stephens was on patrol in the area of Clement and 33rd Ave. when he observed a black Subaru with expired registration. The officer initiated a traffic stop contacted the driver. The officer requested a copy of the driver’s license, insurance and registration. The driver was unable to provide current of proof insurance and a computer check revealed that the driver has had a suspended license for 5 yrs. The driver was cited for multiple violations.

On December 1st, 2014 at 5:52 PM Officers Schor and Dal Porto responded to a report of a fight in the Westside housing development. As the officers arrived at the scene they observed two females attempting to leave the area. It was at this time the victim came running out and screamed the fleeing suspects. It was determined that the pregnant victim in this incident had also been “maced” by one of the suspects. The victim in this incident had minor scratches and swelling to her face, she was transported to the hospital for treatment. The suspect in this incident after being identified was arrested and transported to County jail for booking.

On December 1st, 2014 at 6:13 PM Officer Flannery was on patrol in the area of Presidio Avenue and Post Street when he observed a Mercedes driving with no headlights. The officer initiated a traffic stop and contacted the driver. A computer query revealed that the driver had a suspended license. The driver was cited for both violations at the scene.

On December 2nd, 2014 at 1:45 AM Officer Yee responded to a call of an auto burglary in progress in the area of Willard North and McAllister Street. When the officers arrived at the scene they observed a male in the process of breaking into a vehicle. The officers detained the suspect who initially gave them a fake name. The officers later discovered that the name provided was that of a friend of the suspect. When the officers ran the suspect’s correct information they found active outstanding arrest warrants. The officers also detained a second female suspect who was reported to be acting as a lookout during this crime. During the course of their investigation not only did the officers discover multiple warrants for both suspects they also recovered burglary tools, narcotics, narcotics paraphernalia and a container loaded with tear gas. The suspects were booked at County jail on burglary, narcotics, weapons and warrant charges.

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 3:44 pm | Posted under Crime | 7 comments

Local links: Purple Skunk closing, BART to the beach?, MAFIA online, reclaimed furniture & more

Reindeer are back at the Academy of Sciences for the holidays. Photo by @calacademy

  • Lizzie, the owner of Purple Skunk Skateboard Shop at 6037 Geary wrote us to say they are closing their doors after the Christmas holidays. “After 21 years the Purple Skunk doors will be closing. Christmas week is our last retail hoorah. It’s time to retire, but on a good note. We will miss ALL of our customers that we have been serving throughout the years. We will always remember our little groms that got their first skateboard here.” The business is for sale so if you’re interested, contact the shop for more details. We’ll miss you Purple Skunk!
  • BART to the Beach? Don’t get too excited, but BART is “investigating” service expansions over the next decade that would include a second transbay tube and a new line out to the western part of the city. You can download the proposal here, which was presented to the San Francisco County Transportation Authority Board committee recently.
  • Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto. The Examiner reports that “Next spring, Washington High School in the Richmond is poised to produce one of approximately 3,000 teams to compete in an international robotics competition after students recently created the school’s first robotics club.” The 60 students who have already signed up will be broken into teams of four to focus on different aspects, including building the robot, developing its software, calculating the business and handling public relations. The program was supported by a $20,000 grant from Facebook.
  • Izakaya Ju-Ku on the corner of 19th Avenue and Clement closed a couple of weeks ago. That’s a nice corner spot but has always been challenging for restaurants. We’ll have to see what opens there next…
  • Arion Press, just inside the 14th Avenue Presidio gate, is hosting a free, holiday open house this Saturday from 11am until 6pm. Go on a tour, check out their gallery, and experience the historic bookmaking and letterpress workshop. See where their books are made, including their historic printing presses, 100-year-old machinery, and one of the largest collections of metal type in North America. Free tours of the typefoundry, press room, and book bindery take place at 12noon and 2pm.
  • Two Richmond District residents have started a new furniture business using reclaimed materials. “We started out small but then we quickly realized we have a love for working with reclaimed materials. We have now begun expanding our collection in hopes of sharing it with the community. We’re starting small with a few select pieces but will be expanding in the coming months.” You can check out their products on Etsy – we like that bathtub shelf!
  • Remember MAFIA Bags, a new business that set up a manufacuturing space in the Richmond District, making bags and accessories from recycled sails? Their online store is now up, just in time for the holidays.
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 4:30 am | Posted under Business, Food, Golden Gate Park, Museums, Schools, Shopping | 30 comments

Water main break opens large sinkhole at 6th Avenue and Lake Street

Overnight, a water main break underground at the intersection of 6th Avenue and Lake Street caused a large sinkhole to open up.

We first learned of the hole around 7:30am this morning, and when we arrived at the scene at 8:30am, firefighters and police were on the scene. The intersection, as well as the blocks of Lake Street and 6th Avenue leading up to it were closed to traffic.

Workers were attempting to shut off the water line, which could be heard gushing water. A gas line is also located near the water main break.

This is a big sinkhole, but not quite as large as the one that opened up at 2nd Avenue and Lake in May 2013.

Expect the intersection to be closed off for much of today while repairs are put in place.

Sarah B.

UPDATE 11:24am: Now that crews have punched through the sinkhole, it’s gotten quite large:

Photo by Joe K.

SFPD blocking off 6th Avenue to car traffic (at California)

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 10:39 am | Posted under Traffic, Utilities | 15 comments

Golden Gate Park’s 85th annual tree lighting at McLaren Lodge, Thursday night

Photo by Richard Tamayo

This Thursday night from 4pm until 8pm, Rec & Park is hosting a special holiday celebration featuring carnival rides, cookie factory, arts and crafts for kids, a visit from Santa, and live entertainment.

During the event, they’ll officially light up the giant Monterey Cypress in front of McLaren Lodge. The lighting will take place between 6pm and 6:15pm (Santa will be there starting at 5:15pm). McLaren Lodge is located at 501 Stanyan Street at Fell, just inside the park.

Event attendees are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to SFPD’s Operation Dream holiday toy drive. Donations can also be dropped off at the Rec & Park office in McLaren Lodge during normal business hours.

The tree lighting tradition began in 1929 when John McLaren, the grandfather of Golden Gate Park and San Francisco’s first park superintendent, began a holiday tradition of lighting trees along a mile-long stretch of Fell Street that ended in front of McLaren Lodge, his home at the time.

Sarah B.

Photo by Pistols Drawn

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 4:15 am | Posted under Events, Golden Gate Park | Add comments

Coast Guard rescues tired surfer near Cliff House

Left: Surfer waves from the water for help. Right: Coast Guard boat to the rescue! Photos by @AlicesTake

Around 2:51pm today, authorities received a call about surfer in distress in the waters off of Ocean Beach near the Cliff House.

The Coast Guard dispatched two, 47-foot motor boats to rescue the surfer who they say was fatigued because of the waves and the weather.

The surfer was cold but ok according to Coast Guard medical examiners, and refused any further medical attention once he was back on shore.

We’re not sure who would want to surf on a day like today with the heavy rains and wind. Not to mention that due to the rain, North Ocean Beach was closed due to Combined Sewer Discharge. Ick.

Sarah B.

[via KCBS]

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 5:52 pm | Posted under Ocean Beach | 5 comments

Photo: Rainy day flooding

A blocked drain at 21st & California this morning. Photo by David H.

Rainy day floods on your corner? Call 311 or use the 311 app for iPhone or Android to report issues. Stay dry out there!

Sarah B.

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 1:19 pm | Posted under Photos, Weather | Add comments

The Doors’ “When You’re Strange” documentary at the Balboa Theater, Dec. 4

This Thursday, the Balboa Theater continues its weekly rockumentary series with a screening of “When You’re Strange”, a 2010 documentary about the legendary band fronted by the late Jim Morrison.

Narrated by Johnny Depp (did you see him recently at the HFA’s? yikes), the film uncovers historic, previously unseen footage from the band and provides new insight into the impact of their music and legacy.

Taking its title from the cabaret-tinged Doors hit “People Are Strange,” the film chronicles the creation of The Doors’ six landmark studio albums in just five years, as well as their electrifying live performances. Rare cinèma vèritè footage offers an intimate glimpse into their musical collaboration – and their offstage lives.

Also on hand will be Doors biographer Denise Sullivan, who earlier this year released “Shaman’s Blues: The Art & Influences Behind Jim Morrison & The Doors“. She’ll introduce the movie on Thursday. Sullivan was one of the Morrison scholars consulted for the making of a different, new film on Morrison entitled “Before The End: Searching For Jim Morrison”, by indie filmmakers Jeff and Jess Finn.

“When You’re Strange” plays at the Balboa Theater this Thursday night at 7:30pm. Tickets are available online or at the Balboa box office ($7.50 – $10).

Sarah B.

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 1:12 pm | Posted under Events, Movies | Add comments

It’s #GivingTuesday – Support Richmond District non-profits

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us (phew!), so now it’s time for one of our favorite days during the holidays – #GivingTuesday.

GivingTuesday is a global, 24 hour movement to celebrate generosity and give. All around the world on December 2, people are giving time, goods or donations to their favorite causes, organizations and charities.

If you’re thinking about being a part of #GivingTuesday, consider making a donation to a non-profit right here in the Richmond District.

The list below is far from exhaustive (we didn’t list schools, churches etc.) but it’s a place to start. Visit their websites to find out more and if you’re so compelled, make a donation.

Or visit justgive.org to search for other nonprofits by name, zip code and more, and make donations.

A big part of #GivingTuesday is to share your activity to encourage others to be part of the 24 hour global giving day. So if you make a donation, volunteer or give in other ways, consider sharing it on social media with the hashtag #GivingTuesday.

Sarah B.

Richmond District Neighborhood Center
Richmond District YMCA
Friends of Mountain Lake Park
Friends of Cabrillo Playground
Western Neighborhoods Project
Fine Arts Museums – de Young, Legion of Honor
California Academy of Sciences
San Francisco Botanical Garden
Institute on Aging
Conservatory of Flowers
Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged
Internet Archive
Richmond Area Multi-Services (RAMS)
San Francisco Free Clinic
Golden Gate Senior Services (Richmond Senior Center)

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 12:01 am | Posted under Community | Add comments