They call one undercover police sergeant “Scrappy,” saying he just loves it when armed crooks try to rob him on The City’s streets.
The courageous cop has scored a bevy of busts while acting like he’s just another Joe walking around late at night. There will be more undercover officers like him hitting the streets as the Police Department responds to a frightening rash of armed robberies in San Francisco.
The Examiner has reported the unusual spate of incidents citywide in which pedestrians have been robbed at gun- or knifepoint. Top brass, however, has said crime is down and residents should not be alarmed, but the incidents have persisted and police are now becoming concerned.
“There’s a litany of street robberies that are occurring all throughout The City,” Assistant Chief Jeff Godown said Wednesday. “I know in the last week we’ve probably had 15 to 20 street robberies.”
Armed thugs robbed pedestrians at least 15 times during the past five days. When The Examiner first reported the trend two weeks ago, there were 12 such robberies citywide during a three-day period.
Godown grilled police captains at Wednesday’s CompStat meeting regarding the uptick, saying pedestrians are now carrying more-valuable items like cell phones and iPods and many are simply unaware that they are enticing prey for armed robbers.
“Next thing you know, someone is going to get shot, someone is going to get stabbed,” Godown said. “It’s kind of getting out of control.”
The majority of the robberies happen between midnight and 6 a.m., police said. Many of the victims are leaving clubs or bars, vulnerable because they’re often intoxicated, according to police.
And it appears the criminals are not partial to a specific neighborhood. A group of teenagers from a gang has terrorized pedestrians in Hayes Valley, police said. A violent robber recently stabbed a 24-year-old man who had been talking on a BlackBerry on Chestnut Street in the Marina district.
Armed robberies during an early morning period Sunday:
- 4:45 a.m., 900 block of Shotwell Street: 35-year-old man robbed at gunpoint while unlocking front gate to home
- 5:18 a.m., Silver Avenue and Dartmouth Street: Two men robbed by masked gunmen who hopped out of bushes
- 5:45 a.m., Harrison and Ninth streets: Gunman steals 29-year-old man’s backpack and searches pockets
- 6:40 a.m., 3300 block of Geary Boulevard: 65-year-old woman eluded gunman, who she said held a gun to her stomach, by screaming
- 6:45 a.m., 1300 block of Castro Street: 38-year-old man lost camera while gunman pointed weapon into right side
- 7 a.m., 1000 block of Valencia Street: 25-year-old man talking on phone loses phone and is ordered to flee after gun held to chest