Six suspects arrested after armed robbery

Local law enforcement authorities tracked down and arrested six suspects accused of robbing a credit union in the Bayview district on Wednesday.

Using firearms, the suspects detained workers at the Pacific Postal Credit Union before the branch opened, forcing the employees to lead them to the institution’s vaults, said Lt. William Canning of the San Francisco Police Department’s Robbery Detail.

After seizing cash, the suspects fled in a getaway vehicle, but not before a witness was able to put out a description of the car to nearby police units. Officers tracked the car to Candlestick Point, where a nearby resident said they saw a group of people with firearms fleeing from the getaway vehicle and boarding another one.

Using the new information, the officers found and arrested the six suspects at the Double Rock Community Gardens on Griffith Street. Canning said the same group of suspects attempted to rob the credit union the day before, but were foiled by bulletproof barriers at the location.

With the two incidents — one attempted, one successful — there have now been 39 bank robberies and seven attempts in San Francisco this year, Canning said. If the robberies continue at the current rate, there will be 65 cases by the end of the year — a 22 percent increase from 2007’s total of 53, police records show.

While bank robberies are becoming increasingly more common in The City, Wednesday’s operation was an anomaly, Canning said. Most robbers don’t use firearms, instead opting to slip a menacing note to a cashier, knowing full well that most banks’ policies are geared toward prioritizing employee safety.

On July 21, a Bank of America in the Castro was robbed after a man walked in, handed a teller a menacing note, and then promptly left — cash in hand — without ever having uttered a word.

Another robbery took place July 29 at a bank on Ocean Avenue, according to a report from the Ingleside Police Station.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

Heists in The City

Bank robberies are on the rise from last year.

2007: 53

2008: 39*

*To date

Source: SFPD

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