Noe Valley Voice October 2003

Police Beat

Police Beat is a 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 during the month of August, 2003.

Theft from Locked Vehicle: Between 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, and 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 7; Douglass and 23rd streets

During the evening of Aug. 6, someone smashed the rear-side passenger window of a 1991 Honda Accord parked near Douglass and 23rd streets, according to San Francisco police. Reported missing from the car were a Canon camera and an Ibanez guitar, each valued at $400. Damage to the car window was also estimated at $400. Police have no suspects.

Stolen Auto: Between 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, and 5 a.m. Friday, Aug. 8; 30th Street between Church and Sanchez streets

A 1991 gray, four-door Toyota Camry was stolen from where it was parked on 30th Street sometime during the night of Aug. 7. The car, owned by a resident of the 1800 block of Church Street, had previous damage on its front bumper and carried the California license plate 2XHD942.

Stolen Auto: Between noon and 4:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8; Church and 27th streets

On the afternoon of Aug. 8, someone stole a white, two-door, 1994 Acura Integra from where it was parked near Church and 27th streets. The vehicle bore the California plate number 4TOA308 and is owned by a resident of the 1500 block of Church Street.

Kidnapping, Robbery with Gun: 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 11; 30th and Dolores streets

The victim of a robbery totalling $1,900 gave the following account in Spanish to an Adult Protective Services worker, who translated it and reported it to San Francisco police:

A 77-year-old South San Francisco man was outside a 30th Street senior center the morning of Aug. 11, when he was approached by a woman who greeted him in Spanish and said she was from Venezuela. The woman asked the man to help her find a lawyer so she could claim a lottery winning. The victim was then approached by another person, a man who told him that he needed $20,000 so that the couple could get their lottery winnings.

When the victim told the couple that he did not want to go anywhere with them, the man pulled out a .38 caliber pistol and told him to get into their car and direct them to his house. Fearing for his life, the man did as he was told.

When they arrived at the home in South San Francisco, the gunman followed the victim inside, where the elderly man retrieved $1,000 in $100 bills. The couple then demanded $1,000 more and insisted that the victim take them to his bank at Mission and 21st streets.

Once again fearing for his life, the elderly man got back into the car. At the bank, the man withdrew $900 from his account and gave it to the couple, who gave him an Express Mail bag filled with wads of newspaper bound together by a rubber band. They then fled in their car.

The case was referred to the Crime Scene Investigations unit, which planned to look for fingerprints on the mailbag and in the victim's home.

Stolen Truck: Between midnight and 1:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 11; 27th and Church streets

A brand-new, black, two-door Toyota Tacoma truck was stolen from where it was parked near 27th and Church streets between midnight and 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 11. The truck was locked and carried dealer plates. The owner listed residences on Church Street and in San Diego.

Battery: 6:14 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12; 1600 block of Church Street

A 23-year-old woman signed a citizen's arrest for battery against a 40-year-old janitor whom she said slapped her in the face after she entered a building in the 1600 block of Church Street shortly after 6 p.m. Aug. 12. The victim told police she was carrying her infant son and was with her 19-year-old friend when she entered the building. She said she was confronted by the janitor, who questioned why she was in the building and told her she was not allowed to be there. The victim said the janitor slapped her about three times in the face. The janitor told police she slapped the woman once, in response to an insult that the 23-year-old woman made about her family.

Stolen Car: Between 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12, and 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13; 1500 block of Noe Street

Sometime during the night of Aug. 12, someone stole a silver 1987 Honda CRX hatchback from where it was parked in the 1500 block of Noe Street. The car bore the Washington plate 692EJP and was reported stolen by a Noe Street resident.

Burglary, Non-Residential: 3:35 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 14; 600 block of Elizabeth Street

Shortly before 4 a.m. on Aug. 14, officers responded to a call that a man with a white van was stealing tools from a construction site near Elizabeth and Castro streets. On arriving at the scene, police spotted a white Dodge Caravan nearing a stop sign at the Elizabeth and Castro intersection. The van's driver matched the witness's description of a tall blond white man in his 20s.

As the van drove east on Elizabeth toward Noe Street, the officers activated their car's lights and siren in an attempt to get the driver to pull over. According to police, the van did not stop, but continued traveling about 25 mph. One of the officers used a loudspeaker to yell to the driver to pull over. The driver of the van turned right on Noe and pulled to the right curb, as if he were going to stop. Instead, he drove onto the sidewalk, traveling about 25 mph, jumped the curb at 24th Street, and continued south on Noe Street before losing control of the van and striking a parked red Honda.

After crashing into the Honda, the driver got out of the van and began running along the sidewalk. He started to enter a driveway at the northwest corner of Noe and Jersey streets but then doubled back and ran west on Jersey. Officers followed, yelling, "Stop! Police! You're under arrest!" but the suspect kept going.

When the suspect doubled back and was running east on Jersey Street, one of the officers tackled him and threw him to the ground. When the officers attempted to handcuff the man, he allegedly would not put his hands behind his back. One of the officers held the suspect's head as the other struggled with his arms. Officers finally forced his hands together and handcuffed him. In the struggle, the man sustained "road rash" to his cheek, and an ambulance was called.

The officers returned to the scene of the collision and through the windows of the van spotted several large tools, tool boxes, and equipment. Police contacted the owner of the property where the tools were taken. He said he was having an addition built onto his house and directed the police to his contractor, who identified the tools as the ones he kept in the construction box in the 600 block of Elizabeth Street. Most of the tools were photographed and returned to the contractor.

John Francis Wilson, 30, of San Francisco, was booked at Mission Station after being medically cleared at San Francisco General Hospital. He was found to be driving with a suspended license. He also was on probation in San Mateo County and had two active warrants out for his arrest.

He was charged with burglary, possession of stolen property, reckless driving, a hit-and-run traffic collision, resisting arrest, and driving with a suspended license.

Burglary, Non-Residential: 3:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 15; 4100 block of 24th Street

The afternoon of Aug. 15, someone stole an envelope of money and checks from the front desk of a dentist's office on 24th Street. The reporting person told police that at around 3:30 p.m. she had spent about 10 minutes in the rear of the office cleaning some equipment, leaving the front door of the office open. When she returned, she noticed that the envelope she had been preparing for a bank deposit was missing. The envelope contained $318 in cash and various personal and insurance checks. Police have no suspects.

Battery: 12:34 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 17; 24th and Church streets

An altercation between two men and a cab driver resulted in one of the men sustaining a head injury around 12:30 a.m. on Aug. 17 near 24th and Church streets. The men involved and witnesses gave police differing accounts.

According to one of the men, he and his friend had been drinking at a local bar and had called a cab to take them home. The man told police that when the Luxor cab arrived, he got into the front passenger seat and his friend got in the back. When the pair told the cab driver where they were headed, just a few blocks away, the driver got mad, the man said, so he offered him $10 to take them the short trip.

According to the man, the cab driver cursed at them and told them to get out of the cab. The man got out of the front seat, and the cab driver reached over and locked the door. He noticed that his friend was still in the back, so he walked around the car and knocked on the driver's window to alert the driver.

Meanwhile, his friend opened the back door and got out of the cab. The first man told police that when he started to walk around the back of the cab to help his friend get out, the cab driver got out and kicked him in the buttocks. The man said the driver then got back into the cab and put the car in reverse, hitting his friend with the open rear door and knocking the friend to the ground, where he lay unconscious. The man was afraid the driver might flee, he said, so he reached in and took his car keys from the ignition and handed them to a passerby.

The cab driver, however, told police that the two men were drunk and belligerent when they entered his car, and he told both men to get out, at which point they began yelling and cursing at him. The driver said that after the men got out, he exited the cab to close the doors and then got back into his car. He said the man who had been in the front seat challenged him to a fight. The driver said he told him to go away, he had no time to fight. He said the man grabbed his keys through the driver's window, opened his door, and punched him on the left side of the head, telling him he should go back to his "Middle-East country."

The driver said the man dragged him out of his car by the left arm and kicked him in the left leg. He said the rear passenger lost his balance and fell back with the door open, injuring himself.

None of the men pressed charges. The hurt man was treated for a head injury and released from San Francisco General Hospital.

Vandalism to Vehicle: Between 8:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, and 11:15 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 23; 4100 block of 24th Street

The night of Aug. 22, someone poured sugar into the gas tank of a silver 2002 Jeep sedan parked in the 4100 block of 24th Street. The couple who own the Jeep told police they had parked the vehicle in their driveway the night of Aug. 22. When one of them came out to use the car the following morning, she noticed a white powdery substance on the ground but didn't think much of it.

However, after they drove the car for about three days, the vehicle broke down. Upon opening the gas tank, the couple discovered a residue that police later confirmed was sugar. The Jeep is undergoing $3,000 in repairs from the damage caused by the sugar.

Vandalism to Vehicle: 11:20 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 23; 3800 block of 24th Street

A couple told police that they had been jaywalking across 24th Street to get to their car on the morning of Aug. 23 when they observed a large vehicle traveling toward them at a fairly fast speed. The woman said she motioned for the driver to slow down. After the vehicle passed them, the driver stopped and got out, calling the woman a "fat cow." The woman told police she was five months pregnant.

The woman said the driver approached her in an angry manner and that her husband stepped in between them, directing the man to get back into his car. The driver pushed him, then walked over to the couple's car, which was parked at the curb, and slammed his open hand down on the windshield, shattering glass on the driver's side. The man then got back into his car and drove off down 24th Street, running through a stop sign. As he drove away, the couple recorded the man's license plate number.

The driver, a 61-year-old Half Moon Bay resident, drove to Mission Police Station to report the incident. He told police that as he passed by the couple on 24th Street, someone hit the side of his car with his hand. When he got out of his car, words were exchanged between the two parties, and the woman's husband pushed him, so he pushed back. The driver said he hit the windshield out of anger, but realized it was a mistake and went to the police station to tell his side of the story.

No charges were filed. The driver agreed to pay $300 to repair the broken windshield.

Burglary, Residence: 8:45 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 25; 900 block of Douglass Street

A resident of the 900 block of Douglass Street told police that on the morning of Aug. 25 he was inside his house when he heard someone tampering with the front-porch gate to his home. When he looked outside, he saw a man riding away on his bicycle, heading north on Douglass Street near 25th Street. The victim chased the suspect but was unable to catch him.

The stolen bicycle was a silver Marin Point Reyes model valued at $1,000. The victim told police it had been secured behind his front gate and that it was the second bicycle to be stolen from his home.

Another bicycle was found at the scene, presumably abandoned by the thief.

Theft from Locked Vehicle: Between 11 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26, and 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27; 21st and Castro streets

Someone broke into a 1997 Honda CRV parked near 21st and Castro streets during the night of Aug. 26 and took 150 CDs and a CD case valued at $3,000, a bag valued at $25, and miscellaneous items valued at $10. The point of entry was undetermined since there was no apparent damage to the car.

Robbery with Force: 8:45 a.m. Friday, Aug. 29; 24th and Noe streets

An 11-year-old boy was walking west on 24th Street near Noe on the morning of Aug. 29 when an older boy whom he did not know walked up behind him and tackled him to the ground. The suspect took the boy's wallet from his back pocket, removed $3 in cash along with a Muni fast pass, and gave the wallet back.

The victim got up from the ground and followed the suspect, who joined another older boy walking west on 24th Street. The suspect told the victim, "Since you're following me, I'm going to take your backpack," which he did. He removed a Motorola cell phone and returned the backpack.

The victim said the suspect's friend was laughing throughout the ordeal.

The older boys, whom the victim described as about 13 years old, fled west on 24th Street toward Castro Street.

The Voice thanks Mission Police Lieutenant Jill Brophy and Ingleside Police Officer Mike Smith for providing the incident reports for this month's Police Beat. The reports were summarized by Suzanne Herel.

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, Oct. 28, 6 p.m., at 630 Valencia Street near 17th Street. The next Ingleside meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 21, 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 north of Cesar Chavez Street can report recurring problems by phoning Mission Station at 558-5400 or e-mailing Captain 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 contact Ingleside Station by calling 404-4000 or e-mailing Captain Kevin Dillon at

To report a crime in progress, call 911. (Cell phone users, dial 553-8090.) To talk to San Francisco police about a non-emergency situation, call 553-0123.