Thief mars merchant’s efforts to help victim

After 4-year-old Juan Mendoza’s death, store owner Farah Massis looked for some way to help.

“The accident with the kid hurt me so much,” Massis said. He decided to begin a collection in a jar on his store’s counter. In an interview on Friday he pointed out a 4-pound container of Red Vines.

“It was about this big,” he said, and almost full when, on Monday, a man offering “protection” almost made off with it.

“It was about 7:45 a.m. I had just opened. I was preparing the coffee,” Massis said, when a large man carrying a huge duffel bag came into the store.

“I said ‘how can I help you,’” Massis said. “He said ‘I’m here to help you.’” The man eventually explained that he wanted to protect Massis from theft, an offer the store owner declined.

As Massis stood at the end of the counter opposite the donation jar, the man grabbed it and ripped it off its chain, he said. Massis leaned over the counter and caught the man by the arms as he ran out the door.

“I held him for at least three or four minutes by the arms, then he bit me. That’s when I let go,” Massis said, indicating a scab on his finger.

Massis chased the man out the door and up Leavenworth Street, where the man briefly tried to attack him with a board before ducking into the garage of an apartment building. The man ran into the elevator of the building, where he was trapped until police arrived.

District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Bilen Mesfin said the office is charging the man with felony second-degree theft. His name was not immediately available Friday.

Massis is still collecting donations for Juan’s family, but now accepts them over the counter and forwards them on to a fund set up for Juan’s family by Glide Memorial Methodist Church.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Dog owners sue over new pet restrictions at Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Three dog owners’ groups and a recreation association sued the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in federal court in San Francisco

Vital link between two Muni train cars ‘failed’ while carrying passengers

A Muni train carrying passengers suffered a mechanical failure causing two rail cars to reportedly loosen and bump into each other

San Francisco community advocate to join District 5 supervisor’s race

Daniel Landry is the former president of the New Community Leadership Foundation

SF judge holds GOP House candidate Omar Navarro on stalking charges

Navarro is accused of his threatening ex-girlfriend: ‘I’m going to have antifa come after your family’

Shoe guru John Fluevog celebrates 50 years

Designer’s new book is ‘Unique Soles for Unique Souls’

Most Read