Neighbors Furious After Bike Stolen at Gunpoint on Leese Street


Neighbor Mat had his custom-built bike stolen at gunpoint on Leese St. earlier this week, and his friends and neighbors are spreading the word:

Our singlespeed cross friend, Mat, was robbed at gunpoint one block from my house last night in Bernal Heights on Leese near Park and Mission. The motherfuckers took his bike and his wallet. One asshole pinned him against the car pointing the gun in his face while another one grabbed the bike and his wallet while he was unloading. I happened on the scene minutes after while Mat was giving a report to the police. I had bikes myself to unload. Better be sure I’m not going to be playing by the same rules anymore.

If you see the Gaulzetti bike in the picture attached, please notify Mat and the police immediately.

I talked to two cops in our precinct this morning, and they had little encouraging news. They said that only three teams patrol a huge swath of the city in the Ingleside District–Excelsior, Outer Mission, Bernal, Glen Park. They told me that there are few convictions and barely any jail time, one or two days max, for felony robbery when property is involved. The only sentences are for bodily injury, even if the people are caught on tape. They see the same thieves cycling through the system “hundreds of times” and “the courts just put them right back out on the street.” They said, “policing is a partnership between the community and law enforcement, and San Francisco is not a police-friendly city . . . there’s only so much we can do. . . . . the advice we can give you is don’t be a victim.”

A biased view I’m sure, but I’m lobbying to my landlord and other tenants for cameras and automated flood lights and signage. I’ve contacted Bernal Neighborhood Center to see what community policing goes on.

Neighbor Sarah, your ever-vigilant crime correspondent, shares this recommendation:

One thing that anyone interested in community policing should do is to contact SAFE to set up a neighborhood watch group. You can fill out the form here.

It may not be what immediately comes to mind after an incident like this, but having more trained eyes on the street goes a long way.

PHOTO: Neighbor Mat’s stolen bike

25 thoughts on “Neighbors Furious After Bike Stolen at Gunpoint on Leese Street

  1. I just got off the phone with the captain at Ingleside Station about this event, which I believe is connected to a rash of clear criminal activity emanating from a house on Leese and another mid-200 block of Richland. Many neighbors here have been calling the PD about this activity with great frequency, and some arrests have been made, but the heart of this enterprise is hard to pin down. We have asked for an undercover unit to get involved, but that can be tricky. There is another community meeting at the Station at 7PM October 21st. I strongly urge as many neighbors as possible show up – squeaky wheels, as you know.

    • That wasn’t from the police – that was from me and was not intended to be a substitute for police work, but it is something that truly helps with safety. I am also trying to get a comment directly from Captain McFadden for Todd to post.

  2. Pardon my ignorance but what does “bikes to unload” mean? And what is “playing by the rules”?

    • I believe neighbor Aaron had bikes on his car rack and had arrived home. He need to unload his car and carry everything into his house. “playing by the rules”? You’ll need to ask him.

  3. I feel sorry for Mat. I hope he has some insurance. I’ve lived here for nearly 50 years and seen much worse happen than what Mat described. It’s no fun. From what I’ve heard from others who came before Bernal Heights was always regarded as a “tough” neighborhood. With new people moving in and spending large sums of money for homes the attraction of big bucks to those who do not have them is pretty strong. Adjacent neighborhoods like the Outer Mission as I understand are having severe problems.

    I don’t know about the Police Department. My feelings are mixed. In years past I’ve worked well with various captains but lately I feel more distant from the police. Perhaps it’s just my age. Maybe it’s as they say, they simply don’t have the manpower.

    For myself I’ve played the suspicious old man and kept my house tightly locked with downstairs window bars and double or even triple-locked doors. My house is very easy to get to (but not into) and is often a target because it looks like a simple job.

    I think the muggings and burglaries will be a phase until the newcomers get to know their surroundings and begin to work together. That will be another few years, I think.

  4. This is really horrible.
    I know that they do make and you can install a “LoJack” device inside the metal tubes that make the frame of the bike. With so many bikes costing thousands of dollars and criminals so set On stealing these bikes, it only makes sense to have these devices installed.
    As a female this makes me even more worried about walking around alone in the neighborhood. 😦

  5. Sorry, buddy. My garage was broken into last Feb. – lost 2 bikes, all power tools, Strat guitar and amp.
    They popped the latch handled lock, middle of night. Police did nothing.
    Anyone with a sliding bolt lock should put a small padlock thru hole in sliding arm. This will prevent arm from sliding, and unlocking the door. Wish I’d been doing this for years.!!!

  6. The fact that a gun was involved should change the reaction to this crime from the cops, no? That’s what we were told when people were getting held up and their phones stolen a while back. Guns change everything.

  7. always scary, but nothing new. This is the time of year when the days get shorter, the criminals have more nighttime to work in. Let us not forget all the crazy robberies last year that started in October, culminating in the major arrest in January.

  8. Been a Bernal neighbor for 20+ years. Agree that squeaky wheels receive attention. Realities are that we live in a world where oft times resources are assigned based on need. Alliances between activist neighbors and the city are key to that working successfully. Voting, speaking up, making the phone call or email are part of our responsibilities as citizens and neighbors. Ignoring this, pointing fingers and/ or expecting a system to act or react according to our preconceived notions of such is naive and less than recommended. I have called and notified the police, supervisors or city departments any number of times over the years and have seen results. As one of several who alerted neighbor Todd to this particular episode and am heartened by much of the response here. Thanks all.

  9. Hi –
    So like the shooting that happened at 2 am Monday at Randall and mission – this post too is missing important info
    What did the suspect(s) look like? How tall, where did they flee? Ethnicity ? Tattoos ?

    What time did this awful thing take place? Was victim on bike or walking it?

  10. We had a similar situation a few years back on the 300 Block of Richland. It took the whole block to build a case – fill out incident reports, call the Police every time something happened, organize with SAFE. In the end, the most effective step was finding the absentee landlord (who lives out of state). We sent him a letter complete with copies of police reports telling him that his property was now a crash pad/chop shop/fence and notifying him that moving forward, we would include him by name in all police reports and complaints. Turns out that the owner was originally renting to some young relatives who had allowed others to move in without his knowledge. Within a few weeks, the property was cleaned up.

  11. You have several issues converging. You have Prop 36 which restricted the three strikes law, and prison overcrowding letting crooks loose. Then you have the kill switch on the smartphones that is making people whose business is property theft turn to bicycles. You have bait bikes being left in spots making it more hazardous to steal a parked bike. And you have a gentle liberal city where the thugs know you’re not likely to shoot them in the back as they run off with your stuff, and the cops can rely on your not doing so either, freeing them from having to devote resources to dealing with the mess.

    • If our police department can’t be bothered with this type of incident, maybe if our Chief of Police would obey the law (Peruta vs. San Diego) and issue concealed carry permits to those who train for and apply by reason of personal protection, many of these thugs would indeed reconsider attacking helpless “victims”.

      • But in practice that’s not likely to work. If you shoot someone in the back over a bicycle you will serve time. If as in this case they pin you to the car with a gun they will likely frisk you for a weapon if they’re worried about that. If they draw and you try to draw we’re at the OK Corral and I wouldn’t like my chances over a bike. But it is true that as long as nobody (including the creeps) get hurt the cops don’t particularly feel a need to do much. Guns, though, as mentioned above, guns will get their interest as a failure to investigate an armed criminal could come back in a civil suit if the same criminal shoots someone later.

        If you’re far enough left-wing you can consider your property loss your sacrifice for a gentler society where peoples’ lives aren’t ended over bicycles. And cheer the crime rate for keeping rents at bay. But I think a good armed mugging is exactly what a far-leftie needs to move centerward. Oh and see if your renter’s insurance covers some of the damage.

  12. I’m pretty certain that very few, if anyone, with a concealed carry permit (CCW) will go around shooting people in the back – you cannot legally shoot someone in defense of property. Nor is a CCW a guarantee that you will not be victimized by a violent assault. What it is is an increased measure of personal awareness and protection, and the ability to intervene and assist someone who may find themselves confronted by a potentially deadly encounter. It is not a license for vigilante justice, or intended to replace police expertise and authority. In fact, the first thing one learns in a CCW class is to immediately call the police unless no other options exist. The process of obtaining a CCW in California is stringent, requires that you demonstrate more than casual proficiency with your firearm on the range, interview with a ranking member (usually Lieutenant or above) of the local Sheriff’s or city police department and pass both California DOJ and FBI background checks.

    I realize it’s a complicated and controversial issue, especially in the hand-wringing pseudo-liberal Bay Area, but it is an indisputable fact that states and counties that have a “shall issue” CCW policy have fewer incidents of violent one on one crime.

    • Please give a citation for this: “but it is an indisputable fact that states and counties that have a “shall issue” CCW policy have fewer incidents of violent one on one crime.”

  13. Click to access 2008-09-moodymarvell-com.pdf

    I have some books on the subject, but found this on the Internet. Feel free to read the entire article or just go to the summary at the end. There have been many studies done on this topic, the majority of which support my position. However I’m sure you will present conflicting viewpoints if you choose to continue this thread. I’ve found that pro-gun and anti-gun people never agree, so I doubt we’ll sway each other, regardless of which and however many studies we cite. Thus I suggest we chalk it up to differing opinions and move on. I respect the police – most of the officers are decent human beings who have a very difficult and usually thankless job, but the important message of this incident is that if our police department seems to give short shrift to crimes like this we ought to be able to protect ourselves according to the recent decision (albeit under appeal by Kamala Harris) of the 9th Circuit Court in the case of Peruta vs. San Diego if we so choose.

    • As I posted above. Being actively engaged in your community includes registering to vote and then voting, knowing your neighbors and your neighborhood, calling out to the city and/ or police services when something seems amiss. Personally I am not interested in packing a piece “in case” something happens. I am not convinced that civilization has devolved so much that we need to resort to vigilantism. Pro-gun or anti- gun? Not interested and don’t think it applies here.
      Fact- person robbed at gun point was “surprised” by his assailants.
      Fact- the police have been advised of the particulars of their height, weight, etc.’
      Fact – this happened in our neighborhood and our city.
      Fact – the police and the city want to know and need to know about this.
      Fact – the police and the city are interested, willing and equipped to participate in mitigating these occurrences.

      Not engaging and participating in the above, either by siting on the sidelines or taking matters into your own hands does little or nothing to move this to a more positive resolution.

      • I like the _threat_ of vigilantism rather than the _reality_ of vigilantism. It serves as a check on both the cops and the robbers, that they can’t just draw an arbitrary line and collude to keep each other safe at the expense of the residents paying the police salaries. Because it’s very stressful for both a cop and a robber for the cop to actually chase them down an apprehend them, then it’s a pain to run them through the court system with no net change in behavior. So they can just signal to each other what will be tolerated and a bunch of unlucky residents get to see their lives flash before their eyes at the end of a gun.

        A few vigilante episodes and the press and mayor will get on them and force them to sweat what is small stuff to them like this. While I hope for the vigilante’s sake they don’t actually do it the threat that it could happen is useful in dissuading the cops from even going there.

        Given we have no privacy left anyway (see Snowden etc.) we may as well install 24×7 surveillance everywhere and have a system that tracks criminals throughout the country so there’s no way they can do things like this. Because citizens will know the police can catch them and the police won’t be able to shrug it off anymore.

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