Package Thief Busted in Bernal Heights

StolenFromBernalwoodNeighbor Robb writes from the scene of the crime:

We were out of town this past weekend and my brother in law came over to feed the cat. Our previously un-met neighbor Jose told him that SFPD had just arrested a package thief on our front steps.

When we got back, I went over and spoke with Jose’s mom in her poor English and my poor spanish and then spoke with Jose last night. Story goes like this:

SFPD cruiser was rolling down Eugenia and noticed a suspicious looking black male on our steps. They stopped, got out of the cruiser, and walked up behind the guy. He turned around with several packages in his hands, and was promptly cornered and arrested by the two officers. Jose walked by moments later and chatted with the arresting officer, who was a friend of Jose’s brother, who is also SFPD.

Long story short, according to Jose the guy was from elsewhere in the city and came to Bernal specifically to steal packages. Apparently he and others case houses that are previously known to have deliveries left out.

Dude apparently also had outstanding warrants, two strikes, and the judge apparently deemed this a felony, so he’s probably not going to be stealing packages from my steps for a while.

And I was able to meet Jose and his mom, two neighbors I hadn’t met..

I also returned those two mostly empty boxes to their rightful owners.. One four doors down, one four blocks away.

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26 Responses to Package Thief Busted in Bernal Heights

  1. YES! I bet it was the same guys that stole packages from my door around Christmas. I also wonder if it was the same guys that were doing the fake magazine selling (casing the joint) routine. Probably not, but you sort of wonder, once a group starts to work a neighborhood.

  2. Christian says:

    We had one nabbed earlier this month in broad daylight, on Coso. UPS claimed they had “left” it at the “front door” around 11:00 (when specifically instructed to get a signature), and my Wife was home at that time. Apparently didn’t even bother to knock. And no trace of it in the afternoon.

    • DD says:

      As a fellow Cosoian (Cosoite)? this is concerning. Haven’t had one nabbed yet but am going to be extra diligent going forward.

  3. Andy says:

    Christian, the lack of a knock on the door is no surprise to me as I have noticed that a certain UPS driver on our route typically does not take the time and effort required to walk up the steps. To be fair, she is very accurate in throwing the packages and they invariably do seem to land on the intended porch.
    I have not been able to overcome the habit of maintaining conspiratorial silence developed during my 13 years as a Teamster and report this perfidy to UPS.

  4. jen says:

    I had my produce delivery stolen last week. Hope the guy actually ate the yummy fruits and veggies inside!

  5. Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

    Hey, that’s terrific news! Glad this jerk was caught.

  6. kerry says:

    Our UPS guy rings the bell the promptly leaves the package and walks away. Doesn’t wait to see if anyone is home.

  7. I’m all for not getting my stuff stolen, but a felony, really?

  8. Brandon says:

    I would love to have this phrase fleshed out a bit: “suspicious looking black male”

    I know we’re thin on the ground here in the Heights, but what does this mean?

    • Malcolm says:

      He had a conk, Brandon.

    • Ashley says:

      Yes, please.

    • 3KsOnParkStreet says:

      Yes – He was a suspicious looking black male.

    • Jack says:

      Agreed Brandon it’s a really irritating construction. And distressingly common on this blog.

      Reminds me of the mob mentality that developed around the poor guys trying to sell magazines last month too.

      Hopefully drawing attention to it will make people stop and consider impact of phrasing.

      • Cortlander says:

        It isn’t clear to me if the “suspicious looking” description originally came from the police officer or neighbor Jose. But presumably the two officers felt the man was “suspicious looking” enough for them to stop and check things out, and in this case their hunch was correct. I don’t see a problem with this. I am far from an SFPD apologist, but I don’t see how else they can be expected to do their jobs.

    • EM says:

      Suspicious is often more a feeling than a look. A while ago I saw a young black man running up stairs connecting two streets. My first thought was — no, not that he was suspicious. It was that he was a jogger. Later that same day, I saw a young white man similarly run up the stairs and I felt pretty sure he was up to no good. Sure enough, not long after, the police came looking for him. These were both fleeting glimpses and gut instincts which sure, could be wrong.

      I think this knee jerk hypersensitivity to simple descriptors makes it harder to share information about neighborhood goings on. Yes, it’s more helpful to say, for example, young black man with short hair, a mustache and a stud earring in his left ear, wearing grey pants, a green shirt and gold chain with a cross and St. Matilda medallion, and Adidas shoes with orange laces, instead of just young black man, but sometimes there isn’t enough time to collect such detail. in this case, the report was secondhand and this neighbor never even saw the suspect. Give him a break.

      • Brandon says:

        The police have more than earned my suspicion. SFPD is better than many, but to think they don’t suffer from this bias is *actually* sticking your head in the sand.

    • Tony Tavares says:

      “Suspicious Looking” is a catch-all term used by police who want to stop and question someone who they think might be involved in criminal activity. How is this qualified? Police have incredible leeway to use this term as justification. “Suspicious” could mean anything, and a police officers are very aware of what kind of qualifications they will need to include in a police report, or in court if they are called to testify.

      Here’s the thing, though, and while it may not be politically correct to say this, most street crimes are committed by people that fit a certain profile. My family is hispanic, and I have a teenage son who dresses a certain way, and when he is walking with his friends in certain neighborhoods they get stopped and questioned by the cops because they “look suspicious”. Is this right? I don’t know. But as a Bernal resident of many decades, I do know my neighbors, and I AM suspicious of people who I don’t recognize as being from the neighborhood who fit a certain profile, who are checking out cars, casing houses, and doing other things that make me think “these guys are up to no good”.

      There are no easy answers here, this is not a “black and white” issue (no pun intended). But if you intend to put your head in the sand, and not realize that the police are here in the neighborhood to protect us, and they need the leeway to use their judgement in these situations then, well, how exactly are you expecting them to protect us?

      • Tony Tavares says:

        Brandon, we all have bias. Spend a day in a cop’s shoes and you come back to me and tell me what’s what. I spent 25 years putting parole absconders back behind bars and I couldn’t be happier to not have to deal with that element of society on a daily basis anymore. It’s so easy to pontificate when you haven’t seen what really goes on with your own eyes.

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