Telegraph Hill burglary suspect simply walks off, getting away 

San Francisco, San Francisco Police Department, Telegraph Hill, Coit Tower, California Highway Patrol, San Francisco Fire Department, U.S. Park Police, law and disorder

click to enlarge A neighbor saw a man sliding down the the dicey 200-foot cliffside north of Coit Tower toward an opening in the fence and simply walked away, Wednesday night. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE SF EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The SF Examiner
  • A neighbor saw a man sliding down the the dicey 200-foot cliffside north of Coit Tower toward an opening in the fence and simply walked away, Wednesday night.

After all the fuss, a Telegraph Hill burglary suspect who had refused to come down from a steep hillside – leading to a more than 24-hour-long standoff with San Francisco police – has apparently gotten away.

Around 10 p.m. Wednesday, about three hours after police had given up on coaxing the suspect down from the dicey 200-foot cliffside north of Coit Tower, a neighbor saw a man sliding down the hill toward an opening in the fence, police said. He then peered through the fence and simply walked out.

The neighbor called police. Cops showed up, but weren’t able to find him.

“The investigation is ongoing in an attempt to identify the subject,” SFPD said in a statement Thursday.

Police decided to leave the man to his own devices around 7 p.m. Wednesday after he repeatedly refused their help to get down the hill. Having cops try to pull him off the hillside would risk his and their safety, Fong said.

After 7 p.m., police conducted only passing calls in the area, the police spokesman said.

The saga began around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when a man described as a transient named Dan was allegedly seen trying to break into an apartment at 1730 Kearny St. While running from the building’s manager, the suspect jumped a railing, apparently unaware of the cliff on the other side.

Police responded and what seemed to start as a manhunt quickly turned into a rescue mission. City resources were poured into safely removing the suspect from the cliff.

The Fire Department sent in a ladder truck and shone a floodlight on the hillside overnight. A California Highway Patrol helicopter assisted, and U.S. Park Police planned to send up dogs until that was deemed unsafe.

A city negotiator was sent in to attempt to talk down the suspect, but the man wouldn’t budge, police said. Thermal imaging technology was also used to track Dan, who was hidden under trees and thick shrubs.

Dan told police he didn’t need their help, and to leave him alone.

More than 24 hours later, police left Dan alone. Apparently he didn’t need any help coming down from the hill.

The scene during the past two days became somewhat of a tourist attraction. It certainly got the neighbors talking.
maldax@sfexaminer.com

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