SFPD Captain McFadden Responds to Burglary at Bernal Heights Home


Alert! Alert! Alert! There’s been a recent uptick in daytime home burglaries. Captain McFadden from SFPD’s Ingleside Station has a few words to say about this, but first, Neighbor Marcos shares his sad story:

I wanted to let the good folks of Bernal aware of a recent burglary. I live in a downstairs flat on Florida between Precita and Peralta. On the morning of July 4th thieves entered my building by prying open a street-facing window and busting the window lock. They quickly went through the front two rooms taking laptops, a television and other electronics. They quickly rifled through a few drawers of my media center before leaving out the front door. Apparently, they did not go into the back portion of the home. What is particularly concerning is that this occurred between 10:00 am and 11:15 am, while my partner and I were out to coffee. This leads me to believe that we were being watched and the thieves waited until both we and my upstairs neighbor left. That is creepy as hell.

I have to give my hat off to the SFPD. I completely expected them to not show or simply arrive, leave a report and immediately take off. They did not. Officer Campos arrived within an hour and a half (not bad for July 4th or any other time in SF, really) He was professional and patient. He took his time to thoroughly investigate the scene and then blew my socks off when he said, “I’ll get the CSI unit over here. Maybe we can get a good print.” CSI unit? For a home invasion that must happen all the time every day? Okay. A few hours later two CSI officers arrived and were just as thorough. They ended up finding a few prints. Since then, SFPD has followed up with me regarding what they are doing and how things will move forward. I have no expectations of my belongings ever being recovered but it’s nice to see that the police force is taking this crime seriously and seemingly applying resources to it.

By the way, Officer Campos did say that there has been increased crime activity in the neighborhood over the past six months. Let’s all please keep an eye out for each other. We have a fantastic neighborhood.

In response to Neighbor Marcos, Captain McFadden had this to say:

First of all, I am extremely sorry to hear that you were the victim of a burglary. We have had a severe increase across the city in them for several reasons. I appreciate the kind words that you’ve said about Officer Campos. He is definitely one of my top officers here at Ingleside Station and has been for several years.

As an FYI, Most burglaries are perpetrated by suspects around the times of 10 AM- 2 PM and are the result of a “casing” of the residence by the suspects. This is why it is extremely important that Bernal residents call the non-emergency number 415-553-0123 whenever they see something or someone who seems to be suspicious.

Make sure to describe the person and activity they are doing very specifically. The responding officers may just stop a crime before it happens by letting the suspects know that they are being watched by your attentive neighbors. If there is anything we can ever help you with please feel free to contact me at Ingleside Station…415-404-4000.

PHOTO: RickM2007


25 thoughts on “SFPD Captain McFadden Responds to Burglary at Bernal Heights Home

  1. I had a burglary here too last November, and the SFPD was very thorough, cooperative and friendly. They identified the burglar through prints and a witness. I don’t know what’s happened since, but they know who it is, and I think have a warrant out for him. His name is / was Hector Sanchez.

  2. We’ve had big increase in car break-ins, car thefts and I know of one home break-in on our street in the past 4 months. I’m on the eastern side of Bernal.
    The day my neighbors house got broken into someone noticed a young woman sitting on one of the brick planters just texting or playing with her phone. As soon as the owner left his house someone broke in. Don’t know if it was connected or not but if you see someone just sitting on your street looking like they are just waiting for someone to come home, ask them if you can help them. Drawing any attention to them will probably scare them off.

    Make sure you have an inventory with photos of your valuables. It will help when you try to make an insurance claim. If you have a Mac there is a program called Home Inventory with a corresponding iPhone app. You can walk around your house taking photos and it sends it back to the desktop program and you can supply details about brand, model, price, etc. Of course make sure the file is saved somewhere offsite.

    • There was an incident reported on Ingleisde PD the same weekend as the above break-in…

      Incident Date: Sunday, July 5th, 2015 – “Not just playing music”
      1:29pm Unit Blk Newman Hot Prowl
      A homeowner became suspicious about four unknown men parked in front of his house. The four men were talking, playing a guitar, and drinking water. The homeowner decided to monitor his security cameras placed around the perimeter of his residence. He watched as one of the men attempted to pry open his garage door after disabling one of his security cameras. Another suspect climbed up the scaffolding on the front of the home and disconnected several other security cameras. The homeowner called 911 and Ingleside Officers Williams, Naser, Phillips, Denning arrived. The officers detained one suspect at the front of the home. Officer Phillips climbed the scaffolding and started pursuing the other suspect who escaped over the roof of the home, and through the backyards of neighboring residences. The first suspect was arrested and charged with several crimes, including attempted hot prowl burglary and possession of stolen property. Report number: 150584623

    • Thank you for your post. Do you happen to know what the young girl looked like? Of course, I realize she may not be connected to the break-in on your street. But the reason I ask is because I noticed a relatively suspicious looking young girl sitting on our corner when I got home just playing / texting on her phone. After I parked my car and came back out to see if she was still there, she was gone. I don’t want to be overly paranoid but my gut was telling me something was up.

  3. Buy a security camera folks! If more people had them, crime would go down significantly because the thieves would know they’ll be caught. I use a dropcam pro, but there are many other options…

  4. After what happened to Alex Nieto, I am very hesitant to call the police if I see “someone who looks suspicious.” I’m sure the person who called 911 about Alex had no idea that the police would shoot him dead. The advice to talk with the person you think is suspicious is good advice. Talk to your neighbors, get to know the people hanging out in Bernal. Of course some are looking to see when you leave your house and your patterns.. but some are not.

  5. My husband and I were the unfortunate victims of a car theft / home burglary reported earlier this week on Bernalwood’s Facebook page. It was a crime of opportunity fueled by a perfect storm of forgetting my bag in the car for what was supposed to be quick errand AND having left my house keys in the bag along with my wallet and ID. The outcome could have been so much worse and thankfully neither of us, nor or cat, were hurt. The SFPD — and specifically the officers at Ingleside Station — has been nothing short of amazing in helping us to retrieve a few of our items and identify the suspect(s). Hopefully our streets will be a bit safer very soon. From my own recent experience I would suggest a few things:

    1. Get an alarm and use it. My husband and I had spoken for years about doing this, not because we felt unsafe in Bernal, but because we did have things we wanted to protect. Also, we travel with some frequency. Even when our neighbor’s garage was broken into a few years ago we discussed it, but as we are trying to start a remodel, our excuse was, “We’ll do it when we renovate.” or “Our house doesn’t look nice enough to break into.” Now it is too late.
    2. Get a surveillance camera. Without surveillance footage (from another home) the SFPD would have had no leads and would not have made the progress they have so far.
    3. Have a safe in your home and use it! A large portion of the thief’s haul was jewelry — specifically my antique engagement ring and my mother’s engagement ring — both sentimental and irreplaceable. At the very least, hide these items away in an unsuspecting spot as mine were in a very obvious location in our bedroom.
    4. Inventory your valuables (photos, video) and insure specific pieces of valuable jewelry have separate riders on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. Some of my pieces had separate riders, but for others the rider had expired and now I am out of luck. We are also now finding out that the total amount of jewelry stolen far exceeded what either of us thought we owned (it all adds up!) and only a fraction of it will be covered by our insurance– something else we didn’t anticipate. Some insurance policies have a “blanket” jewelry policy that exceeds the standard amount and would help cover items that may not warrant separate riders.

    I don’t wish what happened to us — and specifically the extreme feeling of violation — on my worst enemy. I also don’t want to sound alarmist or that I’m advocating for being a prisoner in your home, but the reality of living in a big city amongst people far less fortunate and more desperate than us really hit home for us last week.

    • Sorry that you had to endure all of that but you’ve come up with a great list. Unfortunately, as you know most people don’t act on these security measures until it’s too late. Many times because they feel like it won’t happen to them.
      Just wanted to let people know that alarm installs with wires in the walls are a thing of the past. Todays modern alarm systems are wireless with a control panel that uses cellular to alert the control center vs having the need for a land line.
      The alarm companies will send you a box of sensors and you just stick them up on doors, windows, garages, etc.. You can have the alarm control panel control your lights a set times of the day or even control heating and cooling in your house with optional equipment. They also have smoke detectors that report wirelessly to the panel and control center as well as some camera monitoring solutions that do require a bit more complicated installations.
      You also have a lot more choices than the old players like ADT, Bay Alarm, etc. I won’t post who I like because I don’t want to seem like a shill, but do your research. It’s a relatively simple process and most will give you a trial period to try and if you don’t like it you can send it all back.

      • I say name names! I’d love to hear recommendations of security systems from neighbors, based on personal experience. That’s not being a shill at all… that’s being a helpful resource!


  6. “I have to give my hat off to the SFPD”

    Take your hat off, or doff it, the SFPD doesn’t need you to give your hat off to them. 😉

  7. I install security cameras for cafes and shops and some homes. These are viewable online and store up to about 20 days of video per 4 cameras. Systems are available for up to 32 cameras. Even if someone disconnects a camera and it’s set to record when detecting motion, the video will STILL capture the moments before they disconnect it. However, in my professional opinion home cameras are barely worth the money because there’s the matter of finding the culprit, charging them, and hoping the charges will stick. Security cameras are best in businesses where they act as a deterrent to robberies and internal theft. But if someone is still interested even after I’m trying to dissuade you, here’s my website: http://www.honestdave.us

  8. Additional recent crime: Pizzahacker was burgled sometime on Monday evening / Tuesday morning. I know this because their cash register turned up broken open on the sidewalk front of our house up the hill

    • It’s common sense that when closing a business for the day, leave the cash drawer open and empty. This will prevent thieves from stealing the entire register.

  9. It may be a reflection of a bias but I have noticed a much larger homeless encampment around the 101/Cesar Chavez freeway area recently and wonder if there is a link to increased burglaries and petty crime in NE Bernal. Is there a government entity to contact to be proactive to help with finding supportive housing for those living in these encampments instead of living around the freeways with so much air and noise pollution?

  10. Is it too indelicate to suggest these Prop 47 chickens are coming home to roost in an area that voted for it?

  11. I highly recommend joining or starting a neighborhood safe group. We have one over here in the East Slope hinterlands of Santana Rancho (https://bernalwood.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/your-official-guide-to-the-real-microhoods-of-bernal-heights/) and it is terrific that we know most of the neighbors. We have only have a couple meetings a year but we also organize neighborhood events that help get people to know each other. When anything weird happens in the neighborhood – everyone knows where to and how to contact them. Here is what I told our neighborhood group ask her this article came out:

    !) Make sure that any of neighbors who have not joined our group both here and on “next door” are on it! The easiest thing is for them to send an email to this address. Helping keep each other safe is probably one of the best things that we can do.

    2) Call the non-emergency number 415-553-0123 whenever you see something or someone who seems to be suspicious. Put this number in your cell phone

    3) Request a residential security service from the SAFE organization – they will come look at your house and see where you were vulnerable. http://sfsafe.org/?page_id=3663

    I also agree with BernalNeighbor’s list above – thanks for posting that.

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