SFPD Seeks Leads After Muggings Near Cortland

Police Telephone

The SFPD is asking Bernal neighbors to come forward with information in connection with a series of muggings that took place near Cortland last night. A Bernal merchant writes:

An officer from Ingleside just stopped by the store and told us that there were four young women mugged last night on Ellsworth near Cortland.

Three young men robbed the victims of their bags and phones – There is no getaway vehicle description. If you saw anything at 8:30 Tuesday evening near the church please contact Ingleside.

The young men had a gun. This is very disturbing news. The officer gave me a poster for our window of ways to protect oneself. Armed robberies of four folks at once is very unusual and daring.

Please note these contact numbers:

  • Emergency 911 (Remember: CHP answers 911 cellphone calls)
  • SFPD Cellphone Emergency: 553-8090
  • SFPD Non-Emergency 553-0123

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

55 thoughts on “SFPD Seeks Leads After Muggings Near Cortland

  1. I saw three young men hanging out on Andover as I headed home from the Goodlife. It was around 8:30. They were standing around at the playground wall side- I was walking down the west side of Andover. I was nervous when I noticed them, having been mugged in Bernal before, I’m wary. They were staring at me and I was loaded down with groceries. I was on the verge of banging on a neighbor’s door I was that unnerved . I checked behind me numerous times and my heart was racing.
    African American- hoods and caps. dark baggy clothing. 2 medium build- one smaller. Sorry that is not more helpful – but please be careful.

    • try saying what you mean: you saw three predatory lowdown thugs, not “three young men”. young men have character and ethics, unlike lowlife criminal scumbags.

  2. I was one of the muggees (sounds better than victim) last night and Linda’s description totally fits the description of the muggers.

  3. FYI – A similar motive in Glen Park a week or so ago…

    Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
    8:20pm Unit Blk Richland Robbery
    Officers Barajas and Lustenberger were dispatched to the unit block of Richland Avenue regarding multiple calls of a woman screaming for help. One of the callers believed that the woman screaming might have been a victim of a robbery. Officers Leong and Castillo was the first unit to arrive on scene and found the woman, who had in fact been robbed. Medics also responded to the scene. Officer Castillo obtained a description of the two suspects involved in the robbery and broadcasted their description. Officer Barajas spoke with the victim who said she was walking home from the Glen Park BART Station. As she crossed the bridge on Richland Avenue, she saw a suspect following her close behind. She said she crossed the street to see if the subject would follow her. Once she crossed the street, she looked back and saw the same subject walking faster towards her. She also saw a second subject running towards her from across the street. Both suspects began to reach for her backpack and for her purse. One of the suspects then grabbed her from behind and held her in a choke hold. The victim then yelled out for help but the same suspect covered her mouth to prevent her from screaming. The suspects were able to take her purse and fled Westbound on Richland Avenue. Two witnesses who called the police said they saw the two suspects jump into a dark late 80’s to early 90’s van. Officer Leong and Castillo searched the area and located some of the victim’s property on the unit block of Monterey Avenue. They took pictures and collected the items and returned them back the victim. Report Number 130025192

  4. If we had “Stop and Frisk” in SF it might have prevented this. Call it racial profiling if you want, I don’t really care. There is a “character type” who generally perpetrates this kind of crime.

  5. Joie – I am so sorry this happened to you. I live right where your mugging occurred and was home at that time. Unfortunately I did not hear or see anything. So my household and our Bernal neighbors can be more aware of what happened and what to look for, do you mind giving a more detailed description of what happened? Were you and your friends walking through quickly or had you been in the area for a while? Could they have been following or watching you? Did they pull out a gun? Did they make any threats? Of course if you don’t feel comfortable, that’s fine too. I hope these guys get caught!

  6. On Sunday morning I called-in three black guys in a old model green sedan with no plates (front or back) who were parked Mission/Bosworth looking *extremely* agitated. They drove off at great speed south on Mission. I’m not walking to the Bart now.

  7. wow, the message to any black men is stay out of bernal. . . they will call the cops on you. lets just round up all the black people around a 3 miles ratios and send them to ahhh. prison. just because they will eventually rob someone. in all this bernal heights wealth the question should be asked: why are these young men so desperate to rob? thats the hard questions many bernal heights safe in the paid for home and food in the fridge people cant answer,

    • i hear what you’re saying about the message to black men in bernal.

      the question about why these young men are so desperate to rob is a complex one, and being condescending to your fellow neighbors is not a very effective way to encourage a robust and thoughtful response.

      while we engage in that response we should still call in suspicious activity because the level of intimidation and harm involved in this mugging (and the recent assault between bernal and glen park) is totally unacceptable.

    • Actually, sadly, the message that has gotten though is that crimes will not be prosecuted in Bernal Heights.

      My friend and I were mugged three years ago. The mugger was a black man, around 5’6″ tall, early 20s, sprinters build. He rounded the corner by the 49er Market, grabbed my friends bag and pulled her to the ground, then ran up Park Street towards Holly Park and then back down Highland where he was picked up by 2 friends waiting in a late model maroon colored Toyota Corolla. They used her credit cards immediately at a gas station. We immediately called the police, filed a report, asked the police and the phone company for help tracking the phone – no luck. The detective was able to go to the gas station where they bought gas with my friend’s stolen credit card and the detective was even able to review the footage of the gas station video. Guess what, even though the description that a neighbor gave of the late model maroon colored Toyota Corolla with 3 young black men in it matched what the detective saw on the video footage, unfortunately he couldn’t identify the license plate number so they were never arrested or prosecuted.

      Frankly, I am offended and disturbed at the suggestion that “in all this bernal heights wealth the question should be asked: why are these young men so desperate to rob?”. That comment sounds an awful lot like passing judgement on the victims. Let me be clear about something, Mugging is a crime. Period.

    • I wouldn’t have a problem with that whatsoever. The black community really needs to start doing something about their criminal-bound males.

    • No one said that. The message was that there are three black males running around with a gun robbing people. The fact that they happen to be black does not make everyone a racist. I’m black and I’m from middle America where pretty much everyone is a racist.

  8. Wow, Bernalcoyet. Yeah, would be better to not describe the perps?! You think it casts all black men as dangerous do you? You think that describing the clothes and race description of the peps is what -racist?! Shame on YOU, for leaping ahead of what is standard information. Would it be any less PC if the perps had been desribed as whites wearing plaid golf pants?

  9. These are always difficult discussions to have. Clearly we have a street crime problem in Bernal — and the crimes seem to be increasingly brazen, esp. this last one. It also behooves white people to be as careful and as detailed as we can be when describing people of color, esp when accusing people of crimes. My sense is that most of us know this and do the best we can to avoid broad stereotyping. And we also do an amazing job of looking out for and caring for each other. (IMHO) None of us want to or should be afraid to walk our neighborhood after dark. This whole situation is really infuriating. I think it’s also pretty clear that Bernal (and Glen Park) is a hotspot of street crime because we’re perceived to be easy targets. The Ingleside cops report that we’re known for carrying relatively large amounts of cash and having more than our share of iphones and expensive laptops. They’re always issuing warnings about not using our phones on the street after dark and not carrying cash. I don’t know what people carry in their pockets, but I live on Eugenia, and every night I see people walking along texting or checking email or talking on their phones or plugged into earbuds. If you’re distracted by your phone you make yourself a much easier target (not to mention advertise your wares), but you also make all of us less safe by keeping that giant bullseye painted on our neighborhood. Please be smart and tell all your friends to be smart, too. Carry as little cash as possible, don’t have your phone out while on the street, and carry a whistle. And if you live in the neighborhood and can afford it, install motion-sensitive lights on your house. We’ve got some dark streets around here, and that can’t help. Okay. Rant over. Be safe out there, friends. And smart.

  10. I spend a considerable amount in Bernal and live in Mission Terrace, a stones throw away from Glen Park and really not far from Bernal. There were two home invasion robberies last week, each about 3-4 blocks from my house. They entered an open garage door as the folks drove in from work at 10:30 pm. The second incident happened at 10:30 am on a Tuesday morning, while a man was in his garage. Gunshots were fired during both robberies. I believe people were shot during both incidents, one person being an 80 year old. There was a getaway car as well. Fortunately the victims were not badly hurt. But please be aware at your homes when opening and closing your garage doors, even during the day. We are no longer using the automatic garage door as an easier way to get in and out of the house. These guys are very brazen. The morning incident was merely a block away from major PG&E work on the streets.

  11. I’ve lived in Bernal since 1978. This is not the first time there has been a “crime wave.” A few years ago, someone was targeting diners leaving restaurants. I was not a victim, but I pretty much stopped going out at night for a while.

    A couple of months ago, I was carrying two bags of groceries from the Goodlife. This was early afternoon on a busy Saturday or Sunday. As I crossed Cortland, then Andover, I noticed an African American man crossing Cortland from the library corner towards me (by this time I was at the architects’ office.) I looked at him he looked right back at me, rather intensely. He was wearing “nice” clothes, but there was something “off” about his attire — I couldn’t pin it down. He followed me. I stopped in front of Bernal Beast, I think it was, and he turned around. I walked again, and he was behind me. I ducked into the candy store. He passed, LOOKED IN, and kept going. After a couple of minutes he went by again, and looked at me AGAIN. A waited in the store for about 15 minutes. The proprietor looked up and down the street for me and pronounced the coast clear.

    Very unnerving.

  12. On Tuesday night at about 8:30, two of our neighbors here on the 600 block of Ellsworth (a mother and her daughter) were mugged by two or three young men who ran up to Ogden to a car and got away. Two things: we heard our neighbors yelling, but were slow to react — I’m so sorry for that. Our other neighbors were on it though, calling the police and noting the license place number. I’m lighting up my house now and I will be ready to act more quickly next time. I’m just really sorry that I think there will be a next time. Take care, neighbors!

  13. All,

    I just got home tonight, hoping that I was playing the odds that the muggers wouldn’t hit Bernal again. I got home alright but ran down to Good Life to pick up some things to find two cop cars and a terrified woman who had just been held up at gun point by four muggers on Bennington (next to GL). It seems these guys are getting braver and braver and staying in the neighborhood.

    No one wants to change their lives to accommodate this behavior but aving myself been mugged by four people with a gun not too long ago, I can only say if you can avoid the possibility of ever having to go through that, do everything you can to avoid it.

    In their “bravery” they’re going to make a very stupid mistake soon enough. I’m fairly confident with four of them, this can’t go on too much longer. If anyone has ideas on how we can come together to deal with this, I’m all ears

    Be safe. Be smart.

    • “Brave”? “Coward” is a a more accurate word to describe these individuals, 3-4 individuals with a gun who attack a person/persons then run away to a car is not brave. In my opinion, individuals who use guns against people who are not armed with similar weapons are cowards, period.

  14. It may not be connected, but there was an armed robbery over here in the Portola in the little parking lot behind O’Reillys at San Bruno and Felton. It happened shortly before yours and from the PD radio chatter, they thought it was the same suspects. Be careful everyone.

  15. I called 911 about a year ago after witnessing a group of several hooded figures kicking a person that was on the ground on Andover Street just around the corner from the Good Life. This evening after someone had reported being attacked in about that same location I walked home with my wife. We were about to go over Bernal hill when a car with four young men pulled up about 20 feet in front of us and stopped at the curb. They might have just been a bunch of baseball fans, or worse. I did not hesitate to turn us around and head in the opposite direction even though it was out of our way. Be vigilant, look at what is going on around you and don’t be afraid to avert a potential incident by trusting your instincts and being on the safe side when something looks bad.

  16. Does anyone know if a community meeting with SFPD is being set up regarding these recent events?

  17. @lucy and all
    Tuesday night around 8pm myself and 3 girlfriends were walking down Cortland back to the cars after eating at a restaurant and were corralled out of nowhere by 3 kids, 2 Hispanic and 1 African American, all wearing hoodies. They pointed a gun at each of us, told us to shut up, took our purses and patted down our pockets to make sure they didn’t miss anything. They seemed very nervous and then ran across the street in front of the church and took a right down Ellsworth. We borrowed a phone from a kind person at the restaurant and I called the police. I was shaking so hard my teeth were chattering and they couldn’t understand me at first.

    I will say that my friend and I are visiting from out of town and it really sucked to lose our IDs and phones because flying home will be a pain in the ass, but I feel much worse for my other friend who lives in the neighborhood. She is afraid to leave her house and walk her dog.

  18. Hello. I usually don’t comment on blogs but I am the friend of Joie’s who lives in the neighborhood and is now afraid to leave my house andwalk my dog. I need to walk him before and after work but its dark, I’m single, and scared. I know to watch out, be aware, and I have changed my locks for the “just in case” but you still can’t tell your psyche how to feel after going through this ordeal. I’m all ears if there are suggestions and if the woman who was held up last night reads this, I would like to know how I could reach out to her. I love my neighborhood and just wanted to say thanks you to all my neighbors who have reached out to me either via email or in Holly Park, when they see me. It is a true community and I am thankful.

    • Sara: Me and/or my girlfriend are happy to go with you to walk your dog in the evenings for a bit (as long as you can put up with our crazy dog!).

    • Sara, if timing works out..my husband and I would be happy to walk our Golden Retriever over and pick you up for a walk. His last walk for the night is usually around 9:30pm

    • Hi Sara. I would love to talk and have coffee with a new neighbor! Reading about your ordeal, how you responded and are dealing with it now helped me a lot. I just have such a terrible feeling of not being safe or wanting to walk down the streets I need to everyday. Please email me at: vintage_valentine@yahoo.com – Sasha

  19. A community activist in the Excelsior sends these suggestions:
    You all may be aware of the increased crime in Bernal – several robberies at gunpoint, most recent right by Good Life at 7 pm. I’m attaching a link to some information and expressions of community concern. Sarah Rogers (serogers@yahoo.com) is your representative on the Ingleside Community Police Advisory Board. I am a member representing the Excelsior District. Several of us are pressing for a community meeting to address what appears to be a strong uptick in violent crime in our communities and pushing Captain Falvey (Ingleside Station’s Captain) and Supervisor Avalos on this. You may want to encourage Supervisor Campos to work with Avalos and Falvey to hold a community meeting sooner rather than later and to make sure that Mayor Lee, Chief Suhr, and DA Gascon attend, as well as groups focused on prevention.

    Please be careful and aware of your surroundings!!

  20. Pingback: Wave of Muggings Continues Near Cortland Avenue | Bernalwood

  21. I am so sorry for those who were robbed, i hope the gun is a fake.. having been mugged before in Chicago, followed in London..I no longer carry a purse. My jacket or pants pocket are my “purse”. If you are just heading to Good Life etc. carry just ONE credit card, you can probably be without your phone for 20 mins..and bring an ID. I actually wear my Road ID for jogger/walkers on my wrist. Pain in the butt to get a new ID if stolen. HOW ABOUT HIRING A PRIVATE SECURITY FIRM ?? If whomever in Bernal was able to contribute $10 a year or even less…I bet that goes a long way for coverage during high risk hours..just a thought…

    • This is an interesting idea. Goodness knows, many condo-dwellers in the city ante up a few bucks every month for a homeowners association fee (we looked at a condo on 22nd and Bartlett that had one). Maybe we could set up a neighborhood association fund where neighbors volunteer to contribute? Local merchants could get in on it, too, like they do downtown (ex: Union Square Association). This clearly impacts their business…
      Looks like Noe and Mission already have a CBD: http://www.oewd.org/Neighborhood-Revitalization-Community-Benefit-Districts.aspx Time to form our own?

  22. This week there was also a incident at Goat Hill Pizza in Potrero – 3 young man were mugged at gunpoint by three young men. The officer on the Cortland beat said that multiple victim muggings are unusual. I wonder if these incidents are all related. Questions that can be asked at a community meeting- I encourage everyone to email David Campos, Captain Falvey and Greg Suhr- We need and deserve a concise plan. In years past Sargent Miller set up an undercover operation and caught a group of thieves that were mugging folks all over 94107 and 94110.

  23. could you scan that poster in and share it so we can all learn how to help ourselves? a lot of us are confused. pepper spray or not? run or not? fight back? walk in pairs doesn’t seem to help in these cases. post on FB? twitter and tumblr?

  24. I wrote to Campos, Falvey and Suhr and got this response earlier today from Campos’ office:
    Thank you for your message. I share the concern and am in communication with our captain to make sure they dedicate more resources, including increasing police presence. I will keep you posted on the specific steps that are being taken. Nothing is more important than the safety of our neighborhood and I will keep you posted on the steps we are taking. Thank you again.


    • Let me restate my position. Yes the “muggers” were probably Black and the next one may be Black two or Latino. And after that. And after that. And yes it is a crime and yes its not right for people to feel unsafe, but when I we going to truly talk about the lopsided racial and economic realities in SF. Why in the wealthiest plush cities in the U.S. the children whose roots reach back 3 family generations are the most desperate? Why is Alemany housing projects so isolated from the haven on courtland? And the next talk is about private security? Are we living in Nazi Germany? The more Bernal has become gentrified the more conservative and maybe in the distant future fascist. Soon we will need ID’s to walk on courtland, like South Africa. And for sure Black people will know not to come anymore. Then we win. . . safe liberal bernal gated from the urban realities that have been on courtland generations before gentrification.

      • a gun, is a gun, is a gun, don’t want one shoved in my face by anyone. Just living my rights as a citizen of SF. Why not keep this on topic..

      • I don’t particularly care what race the criminals are, except to the extent that accurate descriptions can help catch them. I don’t think all black or Hispanic people are criminals. (Duh.) I also don’t think all criminals are “desperate.”

        As if muggers were all Jean Valjeans, stealing so their children might eat. This crew is taking multiple iPhones and wallets per night, while the cops investigate their earlier crimes just blocks away. To me, that looks less like desperation and more like contempt.

      • bernalcoyete-

        The immediate problem is this group of muggers, a problem that needs to be solved, just like in any neighborhood in any city. But yes, in the big picture, you are absolutely right. The gap between haves and have-nots is only widening.

        Please suggest a solution, I’m all ears.

      • I thought about this thread more and found my own solution…it’s been too long since I tutored grade-school students that really need the help. I signed up as an evening math tutor at volunteermatch.org.

      • A physical description of muggers leads you to fascism, Nazi Germany, needing IDs to walk on Cortland?

  25. I also wrote David Campos and here is the reply I received today:
    My apologies for the late response. We are aware of the situation and are very concerned. I have been in communication with Captain Falvey who is taking all necessary steps. Additional officers, both uniformed and undercover, have been assigned to the neighborhood. I think a meeting to explain what we are doing would be helpful. I believe the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center is trying to put one together. Thank you for contacting me. David

  26. Hi all, we met last night for about an hour on the library steps and below is the outcome of our meeting – the flyer put out yesterday is for a group to meet tonight in front of Martha and Bros. at 7:30 for a walk to show solidarity it sounds like. The more communication the better.. Please read below for all that we spoke about last night..still working out how to communicate with everyone.:
    I collected everyone’s email and phone numbers and read aloud Campos’ response to my email and during the hour or so we were there, we must have seen at least 6 police cruisers go up and down Cortland.

    The items that came up were:

    -Safehouses on each block (clearly each block would get involved on their own and designate..)

    -During this period, encourage folks to be perhaps not so cost efficient, but leave on their front porch lights for lighting up dark streets

    -Cut back shrubbery that could hide perps

    -utilize the Good Life bulletin board for updates and announcements – next meetings, safety escort groups etc. (Lester was just saying at the last BBB meeting that he has tons of space for use on the board)

    -Encourage all businesses on Cortland to post the orange Crime alert posters from the police dept.

    -Bring Ingleside officers to our next meeting

    -Invite the Guardian Angels into our hood until the perps are arrested

    -pay for private security vehicle to patrol during high crime time – weeknight evenings etc.

    -have merchants sell plastic whistles, let the Bernal population know that whistles are being implemented and if you hear one, identify where the attack is happening and call the appropriate 911 number

    -Lastly, start the safety escort groups immediately. We talked about groups of no less that 4 volunteers, great excuse for dog walking. You can sign up to volunteer and then we meet at Good Life and wait hopefully wait for a few folks headed in the same direction to escort home. Also for the folks, like the female victim herself, that are afraid to walk their dogs at night alone now.

    We talked about having another meeting perhaps at Progressive Grounds – earlier in the day, so no one is walking home in the dark!

    Our question remains how to disseminate this information to Bernal residents. We know the Bernalwood Blog is heavily read, and another woman mentioned the Yahoo! user group BernalSafe.

    We would love to start the safety escort groups asap, but don’t want folks to have to leave their email, phone numbers out there publicly… perhaps a few folks could serve as command centers and put the info through on the escort group phone tree?!?!

  27. Pingback: Latest Updates: Neighbors, Supervisor, and SFPD Respond to Spike in Bernal Heights Street Robberies | Bernalwood

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