Man runs afoul of public toilet thugs

(Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner)

Noses might have been pinched, but the four crooks who robbed a man inside a notoriously seedy public toilet in the Tenderloin on Monday remain on the loose.

About 7:45 p.m., police said, a 20-year-old transient reported that he was about to use the spacious restroom at the corner of Larkin and Myrtle streets — located on the sidewalk in front of Sergeant John Macaulay Park — when he encountered three thugs lurking inside.

The victim was right to be in fear, police said, as that particular bathroom has for years been known as a bastion for prostitution, drug use and other shady activity.

To his horror, the man said, he was pushed inside the bathroom by a fourth goon, police Officer Carlos Manfredi said Tuesday. The restroom door was then shut, trapping the victim inside.

“One of the suspects brandished a knife while the other three sifted through the victim’s pockets,” Manfredi said.

The crooks made off with only a small amount of cash and a cellphone that was not a smartphone, Manfredi said.

The victim was able to flag down officers who were passing through the area, and they eventually detained three men, Manfredi said. However, the victim reportedly said he did not recognize them as the thieves.

No arrests had been made as of Tuesday. The victim told police he could not describe the crooks, but he did say they appeared to be homeless.

While public toilets are known for sheltering criminal activity, some Tenderloin residents have said they are necessary to keep the neighborhood’s streets and sidewalks clean of urine and feces.

Reports of thieves targeting users of public restrooms are not common, Manfredi said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsSan FranciscoTenderloin

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