Occupy SF accused of Ferry Building thefts, filth

Ferry Building merchants and managers are fed up with the mayhem that has come with the nearby Occupy SF encampment.

A spike in shoplifting, break-ins and reports of abandoned human waste — and a reported drop in foot traffic — has management fuming about the Justin Herman Plaza encampment. There even are reports of occupiers using the building’s restrooms as washrooms — with folks taking sponge baths from toilets.

And last Monday, eight men were allegedly escorted out of the building after they attempted to use the bathrooms wearing nothing but their boxer shorts.

Property manager Jane Connors has written two letters to The City, one sent Nov. 1 and the other sent Monday. In both, she highlighted merchant complaints and asked police to increase their presence at the building.

But that hasn’t happened.

Click on the main photo to see excerpts from one of the letters or scroll down to download a PDF. Continue flipping through our slideshow to see more pictures from this story.

Police say they have not changed the way they patrol the camp since early October. Officers are stationed there and others conduct routine patrols in the area, spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said Thursday.

The Mayor's Office on Thursday did not respond to a request for comment on the letters.

The inaction doesn’t sit well with building management. “When we report incidents we are told The City does not want to deal with the Occupiers,” Connors wrote.

One letter said Occupy SF members were overheard boasting about how much they were stealing from farmers and shops. It added that shoplifting suspects were seen returning to the encampment after attempted heists.

During a two-week period, it alleged, 11 incidents were reported involving cellphones stolen from shop counters, which Connors said hasn’t happened before. And Thursday, employee Naigha Bellessis of the Hodo Soy Beanery said police were called after someone ripped off a laptop locked in place in her kiosk.

Connors wrote that the protest movement’s “unsavory aspect” has reduced foot traffic at the marketplace, leading to a decrease in revenue. The building’s toilet paper and paper towel costs have doubled, Connors noted.

Merchants had mixed reactions to the campers Thursday.

Shelley Cush, an employee at the Mariposa Baking Co., said her purse was stolen from behind the counter recently. Amanda Rino, who works for La Cocina across from Mariposa, said cookies have been taken from her kiosk.

Tatiana Graf, manager of Boccalone, said the charcuterie shop has been lucky because it doesn’t have items that are easy to steal, but she has heard grumblings from other businesses.

“None of us want to say anything because we’re all part of the 99 percent,” Graf said.

Cush and Rino both said that while shoplifting has increased, they think it’s due to homeless people who might have been elsewhere if not for the Occupy action.
maldax@sfexaminer.com

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Crowds at the Ferry Building have thinned as the encampment across the street has driven some shoppers away. (Mike Koozmin/The Examiner)

and expenses for toilet paper and paper towels have increased since the protest started. (Mike Koozmin/The Examiner)

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