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Close Encounters December 2019

December 1, 2019

It’s amazing just how much police work is taking place in San Francisco on any given day. You’d never know it from the various news outlets that supposedly “cover” The City. And that’s why we prepare this column each month for The Journal. We know that many of the stories published here have taken place a while back but they still deserve to be in print so that, hopefully, your family members will have the opportunity to read about the brave exploits of the men and women of the SFPD.

And, as another year passes by, we need to thank those individuals who were part of the Close Encounter Team: Ray Shine/Editor, Georgette Petropoulos, Mike Popoff, Cyndee Bates, Leah Daye, Lt. Mike Nevin/Contributor, Risa Tom/Police Commission, Sergeant Maina Tuimavave/Chief’s Office.

Officer Kathleen Cavanaugh and Officer Joseph Navalle have been assigned to the Market Street foot beat for some time, long enough to establish an excellent rapport with both the businesses on the corridor as well as with the local homeless and less fortunate. They recently followed up on a suspicious occurrence where one individual was being chased by several others. The officers managed to detain the subject who was running away and, once they did, those who were chasing him left the area. There wasn’t much else to follow up on except to place the individual they had made contact with under arrest for public inebriation for his own safety.

Several days letter the officers were on their beat when they were approached by a woman who said that her friends were actually chasing the individual the officers had contacted because he had raped her a while back. The officers did their due diligence and located the sexual assault report filed in another jurisdiction and immediately contacted the investigating officer. The suspect was soon located and this time placed in custody for the felony assault.

Sergeant Candiece Lewis submitted a Captain’s Commendation for their outstanding work citing, “It was Officer Cavanaugh and Officer Navalle’s familiarity with the people in the area that gave the victim the courage to walk to the station and report this crime.”

Officer Kyle Simmons and Officer Christopher Strickland were walking a beat in the Central when they responded to a call of a robbery that had just taken place on the unit block of Drumm. The suspect was last seen heading for the nearby BART station so the officers followed. They soon located him and placed him under arrest. While they were transporting the suspect back to the station to be booked the officers noticed how much this individual looked like the suspect in several crime alert bulletins that had recently been issued. Sure enough, further investigation linked him directly to several other robberies and burglaries he had committed.

Sgt. Maris Goldsborough submitted a commendation for the officers citing, “The officers’ diligence and awareness of crime trends in their district allowed them to solve several additional felonies. Their actions reflect credit on their professionalism.”

The suspects who committed a robbery with a gun on the 1300 block of Silver thought they had it made as they sped off from the victim. Little did they know that a video of the entire incident was taken from a location nearby and recovered by Officer Daniel Tay-Liong and Officer Curran Gong who responded to the call. The officers were able to read the plates on the car and posted a felony want on the vehicle. The very next day Oakland police officers located and pursued the suspect vehicle eventually taking the driver into custody. Our officers contacted the victim and arranged for a cold-show where he positively identified the individual in custody as the robbery suspect. Case closed.

The call allegedly involved domestic violence with a gun involved but it supposedly also took place at an abandoned Housing Development in the Bayview. Officer Matthew O’Leary and Officer Rigoberto Haro responded to investigate. They came in contact with an individual who stated that he did have an argument with his girlfriend but that they split up. But he was also extremely reluctant to cooperate any further with the officers and kept his left arm close to his hip as if trying to hold something in place. When Officer O’Leary asked him to move his arms away from his body he initially refused but when his arm did move away a fully-loaded, semi-automatic weapon fell to the floor. The suspect was immediately taken into custody. The officers were later contacted by the Investigations Bureau and told that a check of the weapon they recovered revealed that it had been used in numerous crimes that took place in both San Francisco as well as Salinas.

Don’t bother boosting cars in the Richmond District since there’s an outstanding crew of officers waiting to frame you with a mug shot. The unit consists of Sergeant Gregory Skaug, Officer Michael Gordon, Officer Patrick Condon, Officer Mohammed Azam, and Officer Sean Thompson. One of their investigations took place on Clement Street near 12th Avenue in a parking lot early evening. The officers, working in a plainclothes capacity, were staking out a car with 2 on board who had been driving very slowly through nearby parking lots. The officers watched as the passenger of the vehicle got out and shattered the rear hatchback of a parked car and then removed a very distinctive backpack from the trunk. The officers closed in to make an arrest when the suspect driver attempted to escape but all he managed doing was crushing his car into a nearby wall. The officers managed to remove both suspects from the vehicle placing them under arrest.

The clock was close to midnight when Officer Brendan Jensen and Officer Anthony Powers decided to check on a car they noticed had one headlight out and an expired registration with 3 on board in the Ingleside District. The driver had no license to operate the car and had a probation search condition out of Santa Clara County. Turns out that a subsequent search revealed a Glock pistol loaded with a large capacity drum-style magazine under the front driver’s seat as well as fully-loaded, Sig Sauer semi-automatic weapon stashed under the front passenger’s seat. The occupants of the car “knew nothing” about the guns that were recovered…right.

Ever wonder what type of person purposely evades fare payment at the BART entry gates? Thanks to Officer Shante Williams we know of the particulars on at least 2 cases for which he booked the individuals. One suspect he saw pass through without paying had a felony arrest warrant for assault on a public transit employee while the other individual he stopped was wanted on a felony “No Bail parolee at large” warrant. Maybe it’s better we don’t know…

And if you’re going to steal luggage at SFO you might want to leave the bright orange-colored ones alone. A suspect with little else to do tried to take the very same such baggage when the real owner called him out within hearing distance of Police Service Aide Eden Teague-Whitfield. Eden immediately notified Dispatch as to what was occurring and she was backed up by Office Antonette Valenzuela and Officer Alberto Esparza who, between them, grabbed the suspect and returned the items to their rightful owner.

The officers had a search warrant prepared for a residence in the Mission District and, for once, it turned out that the suspect was totally cooperative with their investigative search. The officers located, “a veritable cornucopia of narcotics which included various quantities for sale of Fentanyl, Methamphetamine, Ketamine, Cocaine, MDMA, LSD, DMT, Alprazolam, Oxycodone and Adderall.” In addition, the officers found a 9mm firearm and numerous .223 rounds along with shotgun shells and additional magazines. Sergeant Darren Nocetti commended the officers for conducting an investigation which resulted in the arrest of a narcotics trafficker who had an assortment of narcotics rivaling a pharmacist as well as 2 firearms and numerous rounds of ammunition.”

Officers Involved: Officer Christina Hayes, Officer Michael Tursi, Officer Anthony Scafani, Officer Brenton Reeder, Officer Michael Cunnie, and officer Michael Montero.

Stay safe.